A La Vista police officer who helped track down a man accused of stealing $23,000 worth of property was named a Sarpy County Crime Stoppers officer of the year.
On Nov. 29, Officer Steve Walter responded to a call after more than $500 was found in a driveway.
Walter worked with a Walmart Neighborhood Market to track the money and contacted the Bellevue Police Department. After determining the money was stolen and dropped, police arrested David Horvath of Bellevue.
Horvath is accused of stealing packages from 26 homes around Bellevue, Ralston, La Vista, Omaha and Bennington. The stolen goods included a $400 margarita machine, a check for $10,000 and Christmas gifts.
Horvath, 24, is charged with one count of felony theft and three counts of misdemeanor theft. He pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial in Sarpy County District Court.
La Vista Police Chief Bob Lausten said Walter could have just booked the money as found evidence, but instead he worked to get to the bottom of the situation.
"He's thinking someone lost their Christmas money," Lausten said.
Walter, a 24-year veteran of the La Vista department, has worked the street his entire career.
"He's a career street officer. That's his passion," Lausten said. "He loves wearing a uniform, and loves driving a black and white."
Others receiving officer of the year awards were Investigator Brandon Stigge from the Papillion Police Department, Detective Jason Cvitanov from the Bellevue Police Department and Deputy Ryan Fuller from the Sarpy County Sheriff's Department.
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