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Published: Wednesday, 8/11/2004

Pair charged in theft of city pool chemicals


The city employee, Lee Youster, 46, of 3540 Beverly Drive, was charged with theft in office. The warehouse manager, John Scott Yoder, 44, of Springfield Township, was charged with receiving stolen property.

They were released on their own recognizances after arraignment in Toledo Municipal Court. They were arrested without incident Monday after interviews with detectives at the Scott Park district police station.

Mr. Youster, who supervises pool managers, is suspended pending an administrative hearing today, Police Chief Mike Navarre said. Mr. Youster, who was hired in February, 1999, during then-Mayor Carty

Finkbeiner's administration, declined comment yesterday. He is Mr. Finkbeiner's brother-in-law.

Mr. Yoder could not be reached.

Lt. Mel Stachura said police received information July 30 that chemicals may have been improperly stored at a warehouse at 1050 North Westwood Ave., and that the chemicals could be city property based on the amount of product. Investigators went to the warehouse, met with a few workers, talked to Mr. Yoder, and conducted a search after receiving consent to do so. They found 86 containers, each bearing 50 pounds of chlorine briquettes, the lieutenant said.

A grinder or other tool was used to remove the bar code on the containers, the lieutenant said, but detectives were able to determine the containers belonged to the city.

Yoder Yoder

On Aug. 2, Mr. Yoder contacted police and reported that he had found additional containers, Lieutenant Stachura said. The next day, Mr. Yoder showed investigators 10 containers that had not been altered. Also reported on the premises were six new pool vacuum pumps and a used weed trimmer that all belonged to the city, the lieutenant said.

Chlorine containers normally are stored at the pools, Lieutenant Stachura said. Investigators believe Mr. Youster took the items from city pools to the warehouse.

Lieutenant Stachura said no city officials knew of the warehouse storage site and did not authorize storage there. Mr. Youster told detectives the items had been stored there for free since the beginning of the pool season.

"We have no other knowledge of things stored there previously," the lieutenant said.

Investigators have not determined why the items were stored there or what was to be done with them. The supplies were photographed and returned to the city. Lieutenant Stachura said the investigation is continuing.

Kattie Bond, director of city Parks, Recreation, and Forestry, declined comment. Megan Vahey, a spokesman for Mayor Jack Ford, said she could not comment on the case when asked by The Blade if the city has implemented any security measures to protect city pool chemicals and similar property.

Contact Christina Hall at


or 419-724-6007.

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