County employee accused of embezzlement, harassment
A longtime, upper-level Mesa County employee has been arrested on allegations he stalked the wife of another county employee, attached a county-owned Global Positioning System to her vehicle and harassed her and her husband using a county-owned cell phone.
Robert Ernest Edmiston, 53, 637 35 Road, turned himself in at the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department late Wednesday afternoon. He could be charged with felony counts of embezzlement of public property and stalking and misdemeanor counts of first-degree official misconduct, second-degree criminal tampering and multiple counts of harassment.
Appearing in court via closed-circuit television from the Mesa County Jail and dressed in a yellow jumpsuit, Edmiston responded “yes, your honor” to questions from County Judge Craig Henderson, who ordered him to have no contact with either the employee or the employee’s wife. Defense attorney Leigh Taylor, making a special appearance on Edmiston’s behalf, told Henderson Edmiston has lived in the county for 25 years, has family here and doesn’t pose a flight risk.
Edmiston was expected to be released from jail later today after Henderson ordered a $3,000 personal-recognizance bond. Prosecutors will formally file charges next week.
Edmiston is the county’s waste management division director and is in charge of operations at the county landfill. He has been employed with the county since 1987.
County Administrator Jon Peacock told The Daily Sentinel he learned on Tuesday that Edmiston was under investigation and placed him on paid administrative leave that same day. He said the county is cooperating with law enforcement and will conduct its own investigation to determine Edmiston’s employment status.
“We’ll be conducting our own investigation and analysis as soon as possible but we want to also be sure we give it a fair look,” Peacock said.
Investigators allege in an arrest affidavit that Edmiston, as part of a years-long affair with the employee’s wife, allegedly used a county GPS to track the woman’s vehicle and used a county cell phone to make several hundred phone calls and send several text messages to her and her husband, who works in the county’s Road and Bridge Department.
When confronted by investigators with allegations of embezzlement and harassment, Edmiston reportedly bristled and told them they didn’t have a case against him.
“Bring it on if you think you can win this in court. Go for it,” an investigator, quoting Edmiston, wrote in the affidavit.
Check back with GJSentinel.com for updates later today or read the full story in Friday’s Daily Sentinel.