New Philadelphia, Ohio - A Sugarcreek Police officer has been charged with felony drug theft after being captured on surveillance video entering a secured area from which inventory was later determined to be missing.
Officer David M. Strubel appeared in New Philadelphia Municipal Court Thursday and waived his right to a preliminary hearing. His case was bound over to the Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court for presentation to a Grand Jury.
According to a press release from Sugarcreek Police Chief Kevin Kaser, footage of Strubel entering a locked area that he did not have authorization to access was discovered by the department on September 27 at approximately 11 p.m. A subsequent inventory of the area was conducted and revealed theft in office. On September 28, Strubel was suspended from the department indefinitely without pay.
The following morning, Chief Kaser contacted the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), and the agency immediately dispatched several special agents to conduct a criminal investigation. Strubel was interviewed by BCI special agents and afterward was arrested for felony theft offenses.
Strubel appeared by video for arraignment in New Philadelphia Municipal Court on October 1 and was released on a personal recognizance bond. Under the terms of his release, Strubel was prohibited from using alcohol or any illegal substances and from using or transporting guns or weapons and placed on pre-trial supervision.
In his statement, Chief Kaser said he was shocked and disappointed to learn of the alleged crime and stated that such behavior cannot be tolerated.
Strubel was hired by the department on August 27, 2017, and served as a resource officer for the Garaway Local School district.
In an emailed statement, Garaway Superintendent James Millet said that none of the concerns and charges involve anything related to Strubel’s school duties or time at the school. He noted that Strubel was one of several officers assigned to the district and said the department continues to provide and ensure daily on-site police coverage.
Kaser commended BCI for their swift response and assistance in the investigation and directed all inquiries to the Office of the Ohio Attorney General.
BCI Information Officer Jill Del Greco said she could not comment on the specifics of the case and that it would be up to the Tuscarawas County Prosecutor to determine whether any additional charges will be filed. She did note, however, that any felony conviction would result in the mandatory revocation of Strubel’s peace officer certification.
STACEY CARMANY, TUSCO TV