Former Lawrence police officer pleads guilty to selling stolen video games

A former Lawrence police officer has pleaded guilty to 14 counts of federal wire fraud for selling stolen video games on eBay last year while he was a member of the police department.

Robert Ryan Sayler, 32, who was once honored as a hero for his action in the deadly Boardwalk Apartments fire, entered the pleas Monday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan.

Federal prosecutors had accused Sayler of executing a scheme in which he purchased video games from Target, removed the game discs from their original packaging, and returned the empty boxes to Target for a refund between Aug. 9 and Sept. 17, 2008.

Sayler then sold the games, Tiger Woods PGA Tour ’09, Soul Caliber IV and Battlefield Bad Company, on eBay, an Internet auction site, according to U.S. Attorney Lanny Welch’s office. The games were priced from $30 to $46.

According to the indictment in the case, computer servers in Washington, California, Texas and Arizona are used to process eBay transactions. The U.S. Secret Service investigated the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Oakley was the prosecutor.

Sayler worked more than eight years for the police department until Dec. 23, 2008. He was being paid a $58,333 annual salary when his employment was terminated, according to the city.

U.S. District Judge Monti Belot is scheduled to sentence Sayler on Nov. 2. The maximum penalty for wire fraud is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Along with four other officers, Sayler received the department’s highest award, the Lawrence Police Medal of Valor, for his rescue efforts during the Boardwalk Apartments fire in October 2005.