Michael Haugen

Michael Haugen

A former Iowa State Patrol sergeant who’s charged with repeatedly stealing prescription pills that were being stored as evidence has entered a guilty plea in the case.

Thirty-two-year-old Michael Haugen of Forest City was charged in June after investigators said he removed about 150 pills from evidence bags from the patrol’s storage room in Mason City between late 2014 and this spring, with the pills having an estimated street value of $800.

The pills had been seized from suspects and were to be tested and potentially used in court proceedings. Prior to being charged, the State Patrol had moved to terminate Haugen’s employment for misconduct, with Haugen stating in a resignation letter that he became addicted to opioids in recent years while battling painful medical conditions in his intestines.

Haugen was scheduled to be tried on October 25th, but online court records show he entered a written plea of guilty on Tuesday to third-degree theft and tampering with records, misdemeanors that would carry a maximum sentence of two years in prison on each charge. The state is recommending a suspended sentence on each charge.

Haugen is scheduled to be sentenced on October 25th.