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Monday, June 24, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Ohio AG Investigating Sheriff for Pill Theft Accusations

FREMONT, Ohio (CN) - The Ohio Attorney General's Office is investigating the claims of six Sandusky County police chiefs who say the county sheriff stole prescription pills dropped off by residents.

Mike DeWine's office - specifically, the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI) - became involved after an Aug. 22, 2015, request by the county prosecutor.

Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer is under fire for allegedly telling law enforcement officials that he was associated with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) before using that story to collect packets of prescription drugs that had been dropped off at various police stations as part of a "drug take back" program.

Although the inquiry was made last year, it has resurfaced because of a Jan. 8 press release by the police chiefs, who claim the BCI botched the investigation. The group of Sandusky County police chiefs is led by Gibsonburg Police Chief Paul Whitaker

According to a local ABC affiliate, the six police chiefs claim there was "no evidence of the normal investigative doctrines such as interviews, subpoenas, [or] search warrants" during the BCI investigation.

The chiefs' press release says they "became alarmed that the investigative authority ... spoke to [Sheriff Overmyer] before talking to the complainants."

It also mentions a Nov. 19, 2015, "special meeting" between the BCI and Sandusky County Prosecuting Attorney Tom Stierwalt that found "missed opportunities" and "misjudgment" in the investigation.

Courthouse News spoke via telephone with Dan Tierney, spokesperson for the Ohio Attorney General's office, who said he wanted to "correct the record" regarding the chiefs' statements.

Tierney said the chiefs "are correct about a status meeting" regarding the investigation, but called these kinds of meetings "common."

He stressed that the meeting was called out of a "desire to make sure all allegations are covered in a thorough manner."

Tierney also repeatedly stated that the attorney general's office is investigating not only the claims made against Sheriff Overmyer by the chiefs in their press release, but others as well.

In addition to Whitaker, the other police chiefs involved include Fremont Chief of Police James White, Bellevue Police Chief Mark Kaufman, Green Springs Police Chief Charles Horne, Clyde Police Chief Bruce Gower, and Woodville Police Chief Roy Whitehead.

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