WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Former Sheriff's Deputy Charged with Felony

Oct 17, 2019

Court documents state Justin Lundgren is charged with Theft, a Class 2 felony. He is accused of taking between $10,000 and $100,000 from the estate of his mother, Mildred Lundgren.

The documents state he exerted unauthorized control over the property of the estate and tried to permanently deprive the estate of the property. The documents did not describe the property.

Lundgren, a former deputy with the McDonough County Sheriff’s Department, was in court Wednesday afternoon. Attorneys met behind closed doors for around 30 minutes with Judge William Poncin but were unable to reach an agreement. The case was continued to November 25, 2019 at 10:30 a.m.

Lundgren spent more than a year on paid administrative leave from the sheriff’s department. The department put Lundgren on leave on May 30, 2018. His final day at the department was August 15, 2019. His annual salary was $58,000.

Sheriff Nick Petitgout declined to say whether Lundgren was fired or if he resigned.

Petitgout also declined to comment on whether his department is still investigating Lundgren.  In May, 2019, Petitgout would not tell TSPR why Lundgren was placed on paid administrative leave, citing what he called an “active internal investigation.”

Petitgout, Lundgren, and a third candidate ran for sheriff in the March, 2018 Republican primary. Petitgout won with 64% of the vote.  He then stepped into the position of sheriff in May, 2018 when former Sheriff Rick VanBrooker left office before the end of his term. Petitgout ran unopposed in the November, 2018 general election.

During the primary campaign, TSPR reported that Lundgren was involved in an estate battle with his siblings that continued past the election. Lundgren was accused of misappropriating funds from his mother's estate. But he said the money transferred from the estate account into his personal bank account went toward caring for his late mother's cats. 

In May, 2018,  a judge removed Lundgren as executor of his mother’s estate and ordered him to repay nearly $100,000 he had spent from the account.  

This story included segments from earlier stories by former TSPR reporter Emily Boyer.

This story was produced by Tri States Public Radio.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.