Press Release Ohio Auditor of State

Former Bolivar Police Officer, Gun Shop Owner Plead Guilty to Roles in Scheme to Purchase Ammunition During Pandemic

For immediate Release

Friday, February 16, 2024

COLUMBUS – A former Bolivar police officer and the owner of a Strasburg gun shop have pleaded guilty to their roles in a scheme involving the purchase of ammunition, Auditor of State Keith Faber announced.

Officer Jeffrey Stearns pleaded guilty to one count of telecommunications fraud, a fifth-degree felony, on Tuesday in Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court, while G&R Tactical owner William Grant Timberlake pleaded guilty on Feb. 7 to a misdemeanor count of attempted telecommunications fraud.

The two were indicted in August 2023 following an investigation by the Auditor of State’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU), which received 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 order more than 60,000 rounds of ammunition, allegedly for use by the Bolivar Police Department. The ammunition, however, was picked up by Timberlake, and the Bolivar Police Department had no knowledge of the transactions and received no ammunition for use by its officers.

Timberlake is scheduled to be sentenced on March 26, and Stearns is scheduled to be sentenced on April 19.

Since 2019, the Special Investigations Unit has assisted in 117 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. 

Public Affairs
Contact: Marc Kovac