Former Bella Vista Officer Sentenced For Drug Thefts

Clayton Roberts

BENTONVILLE (KFSM) — A former Bella Vista police officer was sentenced Tuesday (Oct. 23) to 60 days in jail and six years probation for stealing prescription medications from the department’s evidence room and drug take-back bin.

Clayton Roberts, 37, pleaded guilty in Benton County Circuit Court to tampering with physical evidence.

A first-time offender, Roberts’ sentence is reflective of punishments for first-time drug possession cases, according to Nathan Smith, Benton County prosecutor.

James Graves, Bella Vista Police Chief, said the incident exposed some discrepancies in the department’s procedures, but they have been addressed.

“This was an unfortunate situation that reflects a larger nationwide issue and hit us here at home,” Graves said.

Roberts was arrested Jan. 9 after he confessed to switching pills out of evidence packages, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Roberts, who was given access to the evidence room in 2015, said he had an addiction and began taking pills from the narcotics room because he liked the way they made him feel.

Over 80 Hydrocodone pills were taken from three unattended death cases throughout two years, according to the affidavit. An audit report showed that Roberts had accessed one report multiple times.

The state Crime Lab alerted Bella Vista police after lab officials found pills submitted as evidence that didn’t match submission forms.