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Former Strongsville City Schools Employee Indicted on Theft Charges Following Search of Residence
Columbus – A former Strongsville City Schools (Cuyahoga County) employee is facing theft charges after investigators with the Auditor of State’s office tracked more than $65,000 worth of school district property to his residence.
Robert Schwerman, a former maintenance foreman for the district, was indicted by a Cuyahoga County grand jury on theft in office and tampering with records charges, both third-degree felonies. A search warrant executed May 10 at Schwerman’s residence in Lorain County turned up dozens of high-priced items purchased with district funds, including an upgraded John Deere utility vehicle valued at more than $23,600 and a $9,600 zero turn lawn mower.
“It’s hard to deny the crime when your backyard is overflowing with evidence,” Auditor Yost said. “This man was shameless. He treated the school district like his exclusive personal home improvement store – a new home generator, a utility shed, a furnace, air conditioner and water heater. Nothing was off limits, apparently.”
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley assisted the Auditor’s office with the case, presenting evidence to the grand jury. O’Malley’s office will handle the prosecution of the case in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.
“This individual systematically and brazenly took anything he could get his hands on,” said Prosecutor O’Malley. “The hardworking citizens and students of Strongsville deserve better.”
Auditor Yost thanked the Cuyahoga and Lorain County prosecutors for their assistance with the case, as well as the Strongsville Police Department. “It’s important that state and local governments work together to investigate and prosecute crimes like this,” Yost said. “Thanks to their efforts, and those of our criminal investigators, I am confident that justice will prevail when Schwerman has his day in court.”
Some of the other property recovered during the search includes:
- Generator ($3,912)
- Thermal camera ($3,775)
- Snow plow ($3,500)
- Air conditioner ($2,545)
- Utility shed ($2,500)
- Furnace ($1,792)
- Water heater ($1,557)
- Carport ($901)
- Air purifier ($675)
The Auditor of State’s Public Integrity Assurance Team (PIAT) started investigating Schwerman in 2017 after receiving a tip alleging that he stole district property and purchased equipment through the district for personal use. The tip came through the Auditor of State’s fraud hotline, where allegations of fraud against governmental entities can be reported anonymously (1-866-FRAUD-OH).
Additional details and photos are available here.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,900 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.