2 Gwinnett deputies arrested, accused of stealing county property

Deputy Jason Cowburn, left, and Cpl. Ronnie Rodriquez were both arrested Wednesday and charged with theft-related offenses.
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Deputy Jason Cowburn, left, and Cpl. Ronnie Rodriquez were both arrested Wednesday and charged with theft-related offenses.

Two Gwinnett County sheriff’s deputies were arrested this week, accused of stealing county property — but officials aren’t saying what, exactly, that property was.

The arrests, meanwhile, mark the seventh and eighth times that a Gwinnett deputy has been charged with a crime since 2012.

Cpl. Ronnie Rodriquez and and Deputy Jason Cowburn both turned themselves in Wednesday and have since been released on bond, sheriff’s office spokeswoman Shannon Volkodav said. Rodriquez, a 14-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, was charged with felony theft by taking. Cowburn, an 11-year sheriff’s office veteran, was charged with theft by receiving stolen property.

Both men were also charged with violation of oath of public officer.

“The arrests came after it was discovered that on Saturday, March 18th, Rodriquez took unused property from a supply storage area without authorization and delivered some of the items to Cowburn,” Volkodav said in a news release.

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Two Gwinnett County sheriff's deputies are facing serious charges.

Citing the ongoing investigation, authorities did not reveal what kind of property was allegedly stolen. Arrest warrants for Roriquez and Cowburn also did not specify what was taken, though the property was valued between $1,500 and $5,000.

March 18 was a Saturday. The theft allegedly took place between 8 and 10:30 a.m.

“Sheriff Butch Conway expects every member of his staff to follow the law, both on duty and off,” Volkodav said. “Our deputies are not above the law and are expected to follow it. It is a serious breach of trust any time that we learn that one has not and it is not tolerated.”

Channel 2 Action News reported that Roriquez and Cowburn are on administrate leave but have also been served with a “notice of intent to terminate.”

Their arrests continue a recent trend of Gwinnett deputies being accused of breaking the law.

Deputy Michael Lomax resigned in November after being arrested on child molestation and sodomy charges. He's accused of having sexual encounters with a 13-year-old boy.

Five other sheriff's deputies have also been arrested since 2012, including: