Belmont County Sheriff Dave Lucas receives public integrity award

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The Ohio Auditor of State’s Public Integrity Award has been given to Sheriff Dave Lucas for support his office provided during an investigation of York Township.

Auditor Dave Yost presented the award at the Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association gathering in Columbus.

The award recognizes sheriffs and prosecutors for their contributions.

“In one fell swoop, Sheriff Lucas and his team captured a dangerous criminal and assisted in collecting the evidence needed to bring charges against a dishonest public official,” said Auditor Yost. “It is a privilege to recognize Sheriff Lucas and his deputies for this true demonstration of teamwork.”

The department helped execute a search warrant November 10 at the home of former York Township Fiscal Officer Dawn Lee.

They were investigating the alleged misuse of public funds, and deputies also had reason to believe a dangerous fugitive was hiding in the house.

When the people inside refused to answer the door, deputies forced entry and arrested the fugitive who was hiding in the shower.

Sheriff Lucas and his deputies searched the house and located drugs, a loaded firearm and other items related to the case.

Yost says the search was critical to the investigation, which identified alleged public misspending of $98,000 at the township and its water authority.

Lee and two family members have been indicted on charges including theft in office, tampering with records and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

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