Officer investigating burglary case turns out to be convicted thief

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RAMSEY COUNTY, Minn. – A convicted thief spent less than a day behind bars after stealing thousands of dollars worth of jewelry.

David Belles told KARE that thousands of dollars of jewelry and family heirlooms were stolen during a home burglary.

The biggest loss was a diamond engagement ring.

“That was my father’s ring. That was the ring that was supposed to go on my future bride,” Belles said. “That was the only thing I have left of him. He’s passed now.”

Belles immediately went to the police department and spoke with Ramsey County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Rudenick.

When Rudenick retired from the force in 2015, investigators noticed some irregularities in his cases.

“It was an enormous disappointment and huge blow to us to find out that we had been betrayed that way,” said Chief Deputy Jack Serier, with the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department.

Authorities say during his investigation, Rudenick tracked down the stolen goods. Instead of handing the items over to the family, he pawned them and kept the money.

Rudenick was eventually charged with felony theft and was sentenced to just one day in jail. He also was ordered to pay Belles a few hundred dollars in restitution.

Investigators also learned that Rudenick found leads that might have solved the case, but he never pursued them. Now, no charges can be filed.