Image: Drew Peterson
Scott Olson  /  Getty Images
Former Bolingbrook, Ill., police officer Drew Peterson, right, leaves the Will County jail with his attorney Joel Brodsky after posting bail for a felony weapons charge Wednesday in Joliet.
updated 5/21/2008 7:14:19 PM ET 2008-05-21T23:14:19

Former police Sgt. Drew Peterson turned himself in Wednesday on a weapons charge unrelated to the disappearance of his wife, a high-profile case in which he has been named as a suspect.

Peterson turned himself in at the Bolingbrook Police Department, where he once worked, and was taken to the Will County jail. An adult son posted 10 percent of a $75,000 bond to secure his release pending trial, Peterson attorney Joel Brodsky said.

Peterson left jail without commenting.

The arrest warrant had been issued Tuesday. Brodsky said the arrest was part of an effort by state police to harass Peterson.

"Any inconvenience they can cause him, so much the better," Brodsky said as he waited outside the jail. "They might believe it's a tactic to shake him up."

The gun, a semiautomatic assault rifle, was one of 11 seized during a search of Peterson's suburban Chicago home Nov. 1, shortly after Stacy Peterson disappeared in late October. Authorities say the rifle barrel is too short under Illinois law.

Brodsky said that Peterson, now retired, was still a police officer when the weapon was seized and that officers are exempt from the length provision of the law.

Will County State's Attorney spokesman Chuck Pelkie would not say whether police are exempt from the law, but said the charge against Peterson is valid and appropriate.

"An illegal weapon might be put back on the street and we can't let that happen," Pelkie said.

Illinois State Police Sgt. Thomas Burek denied that the charge was an attempt to harass Peterson.

Stacy Peterson's disappearance
The investigation into Stacy Peterson's disappearance has drawn worldwide media attention. Authorities have said they believe she is dead, and extensive searches have been conducted in forests, marshes, lakes and other areas in suburban Chicago.

Police are also investigating the death of Drew Peterson's previous, third wife, Kathleen Savio. She was found dead in a bathtub in 2004. Her death was initially ruled an accident.

After Stacy Peterson disappeared, Savio's body was exhumed and an autopsy determined she was the victim of a homicide. Burek said both investigations are "going well."

"We're moving methodically," Burek said. "We're confident that (the investigations) will result in an arrest."

The felony gun charge, unlawful use of a weapon, carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.

Peterson has been trying for months to persuade a judge to order the Illinois State Police to return the seized weapons. The judge already ordered police to return Peterson's vehicles and other belongings.

A court hearing was scheduled for Thursday on a proposal from Brodsky that ownership of the guns be transferred from Peterson to his adult son.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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