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Police chief is unable to account for K-9 funds

SANDUSKY - Perkins Township police chief Tim McClung could not produce receipts nor give details about 10 checks worth $5,400 that had been written to him from his department's K-9 fund, an investigator testified yesterday.

Frank Stiles, who works for the Lucas County prosecutor's office, testified that Chief Tim McClung lacked details to account for about $5,400 in checks that were written to him.

“He said he didn't recall,” said Frank Stiles of the Lucas County prosecutor's office in the third day of the criminal trial for Mr. McClung.

Mr. Stiles was the lead and final prosecution witness in the case against the five-year chief, who's facing 43 counts of theft in office, money laundering, tampering with evidence, and forgery.

Authorities said the chief cashed $20,000 in checks from the department's K-9 fund and placed the money into his own bank accounts.

Chief McClung and his attorneys deny the charges, saying the chief often paid first for canine expenses and then asked to be reimbursed.

The chief, who has shown relatively little expression in Erie County Common Pleas Court this week, appeared agitated at times yesterday when a handful of key witnesses took the stand.

One of them was Susan Oswald, a Perkins Township police dispatcher who was put in charge of books for the K-9 fund.

Ms. Oswald, the only person allowed to sign the K-9 checks, said she always asked for receipts or invoices before issuing checks.

She said the chief provided her with invoices all but one time.

She admitted that she failed to provide notation of expenses on individual checks. Half of the 25 checks issued to Chief McClung did not include notations. But Ms. Oswald testified that she could not review her K-9 records to check the expenditures because Chief McClung took them from her in March, 1998.

Special prosecutor John Weglian asked whether the chief had provided an explanation for his actions.

“I think the only thing he said was so they would be secure,” Ms. Oswald replied.

Holding a yellow legal pad of notes in his lap, Mr. Stiles recalled details of a more than two-hour long recorded conversation he had with the chief. During that meeting in August, 1999, Mr. Stiles said Chief McClung initially denied but later admitted that a dispatcher had removed the K-9 records from Ms. Oswald's desk. Those records eventually were placed inside the chief's desk, Mr. Stiles said.

But Mr. Stiles said the chief could not provide the records to him.

“He told me, `They came up missing out of my desk,'” Mr. Stiles recalled. “I don't know where they're at.”

Chief McClung said he would often would buy canine equipment with his credit cards and then ask for reimbursements.

The chief also told Mr. Stiles that he might have required payment for some travel expenses involving the dogs. He refused to give Mr. Stiles his credit card numbers or receipts so Mr. Stiles could crosscheck the expenses.

Chief McClung is expected to take the stand when the defense begins presenting its case this afternoon. His wife, Cynthia, also will be called to testify.

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