Sunday, 14 April 2024

Grand theft, embezzlement charges filed against former correctional officer

LAKEPORT – On Tuesday a former county correctional officer under investigation by local and federal officials was arrested on several charges including grand theft and embezzlement.

Russell Leslie “Rusty” Wright, 37, of Kelseyville was arrested without incident at about 1:30 p.m. in Lakeport, according to Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies booked Wright into the Lake County Jail on felony charges of grand theft, embezzlement by a public officer, receiving stolen property and possession of dangerous fireworks, Bauman said.

Wright's bail was set at $15,000. Jail records showed that Wright posted bail and was released later Tuesday afternoon.

Bauman said an ongoing sheriff's office criminal investigation involving Wright resulted in the agency submitting a criminal complaint to the Lake County District Attorney on Monday morning. Judge Arthur Mann signed Wright's arrest warrant Tuesday morning.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Richard Hinchcliff told Lake County News on Tuesday that Wright, who was terminated for serious misconduct earlier this month, is alleged to have taken items including a Taser, several sets of handcuffs, a belly chain and leg shackles.

Sheriff Rod Mitchell confirmed to Lake County News this week that Wright – a former sheriff's office rangemaster – also is the subject of an investigation regarding his alleged possession of assault weapons, parts of such weapons as well as a large amount of ammunition.

Some of those items were seized in a Jan. 16 search of Wright's home but he allegedly told investigators that he transported a .50 BMG caliber rifle and another assault weapon to a friend in Utah, as Lake County News has reported.

In addition, county documents indicate that sheriff's officials are investigating the disappearance of a trigger mechanism from an M16-A1 rifle that was one of 10 the sheriff's office received from a US military surplus program.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also is involved in the investigation and working with the sheriff's office, an official confirmed this week.

Wright's first appearance in court is tentatively scheduled for April 9, according to jail records.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

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