Windham police officer resigns after being charged with felony theft

By Dave O'Brien | Staff Writer Published:

A part-time Windham police officer has resigned his job after being arrested and charged with stealing more than $16,000 in merchandise from a Streetsboro business where he also worked.

Steven W. Clark, 35, of Chesterland in Geauga County, was arrested April 1 and charged with one count of grand theft, a fourth-degree felony. Clark allegedly stole more than $16,480 in merchandise from the Lowe's store at 1210 S.R. 303 in Streetsboro, according to a criminal complaint filed by a Streetsboro police detective in Portage County Municipal Court.

Windham Police Chief Gene Fixler said Clark, who had been with the department since 2010 and whom he called "a very good policeman," resigned effective Tuesday, April 2.

The arrest was "a personal issue that did not involve this police department, and immediately when this occurred, he chose that it would be best for him to resign, which he did," Fixler said.

Streetsboro police spokesman Lt. Darin Powers said Monday he could not release much more information that was contained in the criminal complaint, citing the ongoing nature of the investigation.

He did say the alleged thefts occurred over a period of time, and were "brought to our attention by management at Lowe's."

"This was not something that happened all at one time," Powers said.

Arraigned April 2 municipal court, Clark was freed on bond pending future court dates, with orders not to have any contact with Lowe's.

The theft charge was "dismissed for further review" by the Portage County Prosecutor's Office at a preliminary hearing in municipal court in Ravenna on Friday. That typically is the first step taken by prosecutors before presenting the case to a Portage County grand jury.

Fixler said had Clark not resigned, he "certainly would have been brought up on departmental charges and suspended" pending the outcome of the criminal case.

In October 2012, Clark was honored by Portage County MADD as the 2011 Mothers Against Drunk Driving Officer of the Year for the Windham Police Department.

Clark "felt for the sake of the department it was best to resign," Fixler said. "Everyone has their day in court and he'll have his."

Follow Dave O'Brien on Twitter at @RCCrimeWatch

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1128 or dobrien@recordpub.com

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