Veteran Miami-Dade Police Sergeant Emil Van Lugo Arrested for Theft of County Gas

A veteran Miami-Dade Police officer is facing fraud charges after he filled up his personal car with county fuel, authorities said.

Sgt. Emil Van Lugo was arrested Friday on one count of organized fraud of $20,000 or less and five counts of petty theft, the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office said Monday.

His bond was set at $10,000 and it was unknown if he has an attorney.

Authorities said Van Lugo, a 16-year veteran, was fueling his car at a station rarely used by other officers between January and March. The amount of fuel consumed appeared to exceed the miles driven, authorities said.

Surveillance video showed gas cans filled at the station being used to refuel a private vehicle at Van Lugo's home, authorities said.

The video, shot by an investigator during a joint investigation between the State Attorney's office and Miami-Dade police, was released by authorities Monday.

According to the investigation, Van Lugo was caught pumping gas on 55 different occasions into a red gas can. He would then head home, put a funnel into his wife's BMW and top it off.

NBC 6 reporter Keith Jones went went to the Van Lugo home to ask why he would allegedly steal from the county, but no one answered.

His neighbor, who says he loves having a cop live next door, was blown away by the allegations. Julian Fiuza said the Sergeant is a great neighbor and is always helpful.

"Was surprised because he's a really nice neighbor, very friendly. I never thought he would do anything like that," Fiuza said. "Sometimes we help each other and that's about it. Nothing really personal or anything like that."

State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle expressed her disdain for the theft.

"It is a shame that a veteran police officer would go out of his way to steal from Miami-Dade County just to save a few dollars on gasoline," Rundle said in a statement. "A police officer, who would sell his good name and his integrity just to put gas into his wife’s car, tarnishes the reputation of every good officer on the force. I applaud the actions of the Miami-Dade Police Department to investigate and correct this theft problem."

Records show Van Lugo made $130,000 last year.

Contact Us