A special prosecutor has charged a former Sauk County DNR game warden with multiple counts of felony theft and misconduct in office.
Former conservation warden David Horzweski is accused of confiscating guns, hunting gear and antlers without submitting them as evidence and abusing the powers of his office for personal reasons, according to the Baraboo News Republic.
If convicted of all the charges, Horzewski could face up to $20,000 in fines and up to 9 1/2 years in prison.
Horzweski, 45, began working for the DNR in 1994. The game warden was fired last July for violating multiple department policies during his tenure.
The Baraboo News Republic reported that after his termination, Horzewski’s superiors asked him to return items that he had confiscated over the years. The game warden reportedly turned in only two items: an article of bloody clothing from a hunting accident and a blank evidence tag that were supposed to be attached to a confiscated rifle.
When state DNR officials learned of Horzweski’s criminal actions, they turned the case over to the state Capitol police, who launched a deeper investigation into Horzweski’s activities.
The criminal complaint against Horzewski contains several astonishing abuses of power. For instance, Horzweski took deer antlers from a confiscated buck that was hunted at night and mounted them on his wall. When he was asked about the antlers, Horzewski reportedly said he was going to give them to a hunter education program, but never did.
In another instance, the game warden allegedly confiscated a .50-cal muzzleloader rifle from a person, but never charged them with a crime. The seizure tag for the gun was later discovered by investigators on Horzweski’s property.
Horzweski kept some of the rifles he confiscated in his home office. He reportedly told investigators that the DNR didn’t provide him adequate space, so he stored them at home.
There are a number of other accounts of Horzweski’s misconduct that are described in the source article by the Baraboo News Republic.
The case is currently pending in court. DNR officials have not commented on the details of the case, but said in a statement that Horzewski’s actions do not reflect the values of the department.