USA Today, Cincinnati.com, news.cincinnati.com
BYLINE: Keith BieryGolick
Goshen Township, OH
At least $15,000 and blank money orders are missing from the Goshen Police Department's evidence room. Township trustees recently directed the police chief to turn over the investigation to the Ohio attorney general's office of Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
/ File photo
GOSHEN — An investigation into missing money from the Goshen Police Department has been turned over to the state.
At least $15,000 and blank money orders are missing from the department’s evidence room. A handgun was thought to be missing, but was located, said Police Chief Ray Snyder.
Township trustees recently passed a motion to hand over the investigation to the Ohio attorney general’s office of Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
The Community Press made a public records request for documents relating to the missing money Aug. 14.
Snyder, who also is the township’s administrator, responded via email on Aug. 29:
“This matter has been turned over to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for investigation,” he wrote.
“I advised the BCI Agent assigned to this case of your request, and was directed by that agent to not release any records related to this case ... as it pertains to an open criminal investigation which is currently under investigation.”
John Greiner, an attorney from the law firm Graydon Head, said officials did not demonstrate grounds to withhold records.
Goshen Township officials “ ... have a duty to comply with the Public Records Act, and the (attorney general) does not have veto power over that,” Greiner wrote in an email.
“Also, it is not sufficient to say ‘ongoing investigation.’”
Township officials did not respond to a request to cite the specific provision of law under which they withheld the documents, which is required by state law.
Police Capt. Bob Rose was leading the department’s internal investigation, but he is one of the two officers with a key to the evidence room.
That’s why Trustee Claire Corcoran motioned to bring in outside help.
“The longer this goes unresolved I worry it could snowball,” Corcoran said.
Trustees Bob Hausermann and Ray Autenrieb voted to accept the motion, and it passed unanimously.
“It’s been customary in the past to conduct an internal investigation,” Snyder said.
“But I don’t have any objections (to bringing in the Bureau of Criminal Investigation).”
The attorney general’s office did not respond to a similar open records request as of press time.
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