CORRECTED: Former Bolivar Police Officer, Gun Shop Owner Indicted in Tuscarawas County in Scheme to Purchase Ammunition

For Immediate Release

Monday, August 21, 2023

CORRECTED: COLUMBUS – The Tuscarawas County Grand Jury has returned indictments against a former Bolivar police officer and the owner of a Strasburg gun shop, related to an alleged scheme involving the purchase of ammunition, Auditor of State Keith Faber announced.

Officer Jeffery Stearns, who currently works as an officer in the Village of Sugarcreek, and G&R Tactical owner Grant Timberlake both face felony counts of unlawful transfer of weapons, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, theft, telecommunications fraud, falsification in a theft offense, and complicity. Stearns also faces additional felony counts of tampering with records and money laundering and a misdemeanor count of representation by a public official.

The indictments were filed in Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court. Arraignments are scheduled for Sept. 20.

The Auditor of State’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU) launched an investigation in February 2022 after receiving information about an officer using Bolivar’s tax-exempt status and law enforcement discounts to purchase ammunition. 

SIU determined that, during the coronavirus pandemic, when the private sale of ammunition was scarce, Stearns falsified documents to complete the ammunition purchase, allegedly for use by the Bolivar Police Department. The rounds, however, were picked up by Timberlake, and the Bolivar department had no knowledge of the transactions and received no ammunition for use by its officers.

Since 2019, the Special Investigations Unit has assisted in 115 convictions resulting in more than $8.2 million in restitution (see Map of SIU Convictions since January 2019). The team receives hundreds of tips of suspected fraud annually. Tips can be submitted anonymously online or via SIU’s fraud hotline at 866-FRAUD-OH (866-372-8364).


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 Keith Faber, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates, and prevents fraud in public agencies, and promotes transparency in government. 

Marc Kovac