33-year-old David Strubel will serve 14 days in jail followed by 30 days of house arrest and two years of community-controlled sanctions for stealing K9 training drugs while employed as an officer for the Sugarcreek Police Department. (Photo by Stacey Carmany, Tusco TV)
NEW PHILADELPHIA (TUSCO TV) - A former Sugarcreek policeman will be serving jail time and surrendering his peace officer certification for stealing K9 training drugs from the back of a cruiser last September.
33-year-old David M. Strubel of Bolivar appeared in Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court Wednesday for sentencing on a misdemeanor theft charge. He was originally indicted for felony drug theft and theft in office but agreed to voluntarily forfeit his Ohio police certification in exchange for a charge reduction.
Assistant Prosecutor Mike Ernest asked Judge Elizabeth Thomakos to impose a 30-day jail sentence with an additional 150 days reserved and order him into the drug court program.
“We have tried to tailor the community controlled-sanctions around his addictions by suggesting or asking the court to order him to complete COBRA, in post-conviction in this case, but we also recognize that when a police officer does something like this, it is a significant violation of trust in the community and his fellow officers,” he said.
Defense Attorney David Blackwell argued against any jail time, saying it would put his client’s safety at risk and exacerbate depression and anxiety. He urged the judge to suspend any additional jail time in favor of less restrictive punishments.
“I believe the alternatives that are available through house arrest or some other alternative that the court may have in mind, in addition to community service, these things promote the positive things that we want to happen,” he said. “Dave’s life has been positive in all respects except for this aberration, and we want to continue to go forward accordingly.”
Blackwell noted that Strubel has no prior criminal record and has voluntarily sought out treatment for his addiction.
“It was his arrest that brought it to his awareness that he needed treatment, your honor. That was the traumatic point in his life that said, okay, this is it. This is where it’s gotta stop, and he is addressing that accordingly,” he said.
Strubel apologized to the judge for his actions, saying he just wants to put the incident behind him.
“I have been getting treatment since this happened, and I just, I want to move on with my life. I don’t want this,” he said. “I just want to be there for my kids and everything. I don’t want to be in jail and out of jail and everything.”
The judge ultimately sentenced Strubel to 14 days in the county jail followed by 30 days of house arrest and two years of supervision. He was ordered him to submit to random drug tests and complete the intensive outpatient treatment program through ComQuest while under supervision, with the judge reserving an additional 163 days of jail time should he violate the terms of his sanctions.