By EILEEN MCCLORY
A former Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper was sentenced Wednesday on charges that he stole money from the patrol while he worked there.
The former trooper, Dean W. Laubacher, 50, of Findlay, was sentenced to 10 days in the Hancock County jail, 15 days of house arrest, and three years of community control sanctions, subject to basic supervision.
He was also ordered to pay $2,894 in restitution to the Wood County Prosecutor’s Office and to write a letter of apology to the State Highway Patrol.
Laubacher has retired from the patrol, his lawyer, Robert A. Miller, said in the courtroom Wednesday. Laubacher has also given up his Ohio peace officer certificate.
He pleaded guilty to theft in office, a fifth-degree felony, and unauthorized use of property and dereliction of duty, both misdemeanors.
The charges stem from a Nov. 27, 2015, incident, according to court papers.
Miller told Hancock County Common Pleas Judge Reginald Routson, who heard the case, that his client took money because he faced financial hardship.
The dereliction of duty charge resulted because he “recklessly failed” to do his job.
Laubacher began working for the State Highway Patrol in 1987, according to his lawyer. He worked at the Findlay, Walbridge and Fremont posts.
He received several honors while in office and served for a total of 29 years in law enforcement, Miller said.
According to past reports in The Courier, Laubacher held the posts of sergeant and lieutenant before he retired from the patrol.
Laubacher told Judge Routson on Wednesday that he was sorry for his actions. He said he just wants to take care of his family.
“I can say I am sorry a million times, but nothing can change what I did,” Laubacher said.
His voice shook while he spoke, and he reached for a tissue and wiped his eyes when he sat down again.
Routson said Laubacher held a “special position of trust” while a highway patrol officer, and violated that trust.
“Your actions have sullied the Ohio State Highway Patrol,” Routson told Laubacher.
Laubacher was ordered to serve his time in the Hancock County jail immediately.
Ohio Attorney General’s Office special prosecutor Daniel Kasaris declined to comment on the case.
The Courier has filed a public records request with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office seeking more information.
J. Steven Dillon contributed to this report.