Former sheriff’s deputy Vanden Heuvel pleads guilty to D.A.R.E. thefts

Former sheriff’s deputy Vanden Heuvel pleads guilty to D.A.R.E. thefts

The man known to thousands as “Officer Van” has pleaded guilty to stealing money intended for the Brown County D.A.R.E. program.

Former Brown County Sheriff’s deputy Kevin Vanden Heuvel pleaded guilty to one count of theft of more than $10,000 by an employee as a party to a crime and one count of misconduct in office.

Prosecutors say Vanden Heuvel and D.A.R.E. volunteer Early Fuller would help park cars in the D.A.R.E. parking lot on game day but would give out fake passes and pocket some of the cash. According to the criminal complaint, Vanden Heuvel and Fuller may have been stealing money from the D.A.R.E. parking program for seven years.

“I’m happy to see that this is starting to come to a conclusion and that he is beginning to accept responsibility for his actions that he took,” said Capt. Keith Deneys from the Brown County Sheriff’s Department.

Deneys, who attended the court hearing Friday morning, says Vanden Heuvel violated the trust of the community and his fellow officers.

“I personally worked with Kevin for a number of years, worked with him on some special teams and whatnot. To say this hurt would be an understatement,” Deneys said.

Vanden Heuvel faces a maximum of 13 years and six months in prison. But in court, District Attorney David Lasee said he plans to recommend two years in prison and four years of extended supervision.

Lasee declined to talk to reporters after the hearing. Vanden Heuvel and his attorney also left court without comment.

As part of the plea deal, two other felony charges against Vanden Heuvel were dismissed. But the judge will consider them during sentencing. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 17.

Fuller has pleaded not guilty to two charges connected with the case. Fuller returns to court April 19 for a final conference.



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