Sandusky County, Ohio, Sheriff Kyle Overmyer was indicted on 43 criminal counts stemming from allegations of theft and deception to obtain dangerous drugs. As stated in the indictment, which was filed on August 23, Overmyer is being charged with a total of 38 felonies and five misdemeanors. The sheriff spent the night in the Erie County jail without bond.
Concerns about Overmyer’s behavior were initially raised in March 2015, when he inexplicably began collecting discarded medication from the county’s drop boxes.
Police departments throughout Sandusky County provide residents with secure drop boxes, where they can safely dispose of unused over-the-counter and prescription medication. The boxes were introduced to prevent the medication from falling into the wrong hands.
— WTVG 13abc (@13abc) August 24, 2016
As explained by DropBox.org, prescription medications, including opiates, are often stolen from people’s homes by addicts. Unfortunately, a disturbing number of the thefts are carried out by teenagers.
“America’s 12 to 17-year-olds have made prescription drugs the number one substance of abuse for their age group, and much of that supply is unwittingly coming from the medicine cabinets of their parents, grandparents, and friends.”
In an effort to reduce the exchange of dangerous prescription drugs, law enforcement agencies throughout the United States have installed drop boxes, where residents can dispose of their unused and unwanted medication.
The drugs are kept inside the locked boxes until they are removed for proper disposal. In most cases, law enforcement officials record the names and quantities of the medications before they are destroyed.
Although the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency provides guidelines for the collection and disposal of unused medication, local jurisdictions have the freedom to implement their own protocol. Sandusky County did not have any specific protocol in place prior to August 2015.
Between April and July 2015, Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer began appearing at local police departments to collect the unused medication from the drop boxes. Although Overmyer claimed he was collecting the drugs under the direction of the DEA, the local police chiefs believed his behavior was suspicious.
According to reports, the sheriff rarely visited local police departments after he was elected into office in 2003. The chiefs were also concerned as Overmyer never collected the unused medication prior to April 2015.
When questioned about his sudden interest in the drop boxes, Overmyer reportedly told local law enforcement officials he was appointed by the DEA to collect the medication. The sheriff also said the medication was turned over to the DEA for destruction.
During their August 19, 2015, meeting, the Police Chief’s Association of Sandusky County discussed Sheriff Kyle Overmyer’s unusual attention to the drop boxes and agreed that his behavior was “very suspicious.”
Sheriff Kyle Overmyer has entered the courtroom. pic.twitter.com/XEvQUFE2tS
— Jon Monk (@JonWTOL) August 24, 2016
In response to the association’s concern, Bellevue Police Chief Mark Kaufman contacted Sandusky County Sheriff’s Department Captain Sean O’Connell, who, according to a statement by the Police Chief’s Association, said the drugs collected by Overmyer were unaccounted for and that the proper authorities were informed.
Chief Kaufman then contacted Sandusky County Prosecutor Thomas Stierwalt, who confirmed he received the complaint and supporting documents from Captain O’Connell and turned them over to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Five months later, in January 2016, Fremont police Chief James White, Bellevue police Chief Mark Kaufman, Gibsonburg police Chief Paul Whitaker, Green Springs police Chief Charles Horne, Clyde police Chief Bruce Gower, and Woodville police Chief Roy Whitehead, who are all members of the Police Chief’s Association of Sandusky County, expressed their disappointment with the apparent lack of movement in the investigation into Kyle Overmyer.
In an interview with the Sandusky Register, Gibsonburg police Chief Paul Whitaker said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine assured him the investigation was ongoing. However, Whitaker and he and the other chiefs were concerned because they were never contacted by the BCI or any other investigators.
On February 1, the BCI announced the investigation into the allegations against Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer was turned over to a special prosecutor in Delaware County.
Although it took more than six months, Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien traveled to Sandusky County on August 23 to present her findings to a grand jury. Later that same evening, O’Brien confirmed Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer was indicted on 43 criminal counts.
As reported by Fremont News-Messenger, the indictment suggests Overmyer did, in fact, steal drugs from the county’s medication drop boxes.
In the course of their investigation, the prosecutor also determined the sheriff deceived doctors and pharmacists to obtain narcotic pain medication, including Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, and Percocet, 15 times between April 2014 and January 2015.
As reported by the Toledo Blade, the indictment also includes charges of filing false financial reports, tampering with records, and theft in office.
During his Wednesday afternoon arraignment, Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer pleaded not guilty. His bond was set at $150,000 by visiting judge Patricia Cosgrove.
Judge Cosgrove also ordered the sheriff to surrender all county property, including any guns, cell phones, and computers. As a condition of his bond, he will not be allowed any contact with the Sandusky County Sheriff’s office or any potential witnesses.
According to reports, Overmyer posted bond and was released from the Erie County Jail shortly after he returned from his arraignment.
During Wednesday’s arraignment, special prosecutor Carol Hamilton O’Brien confirmed “no other sheriff’s office employees are under investigation” for involvement in Kyle Overmyer’s case. However, sheriff’s Detective Sean P. O’Connell, who filed the original complaint against Overmyer, was suspended by the sheriff last month.
Although the cases are not related, O’Connel is also being accused of workplace misconduct. According to the Sandusky Register, the detective is accused of sharing sensitive documents, pertaining to a murder investigation, with a county employee who is not part of the sheriff’s department.
Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer was stripped of all county property. However, he cannot be removed from office unless he is convicted of a felony or is ousted by a special panel of judges. It is unclear whether Overmyer will move forward with his plans to run for sheriff this November, but he is being opposed by Independent candidates Jim Consolo and Chris Hilton.
[Image via NewsNet 5]