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Former Ohio school employee indicted for stealing high-priced items, including a barn

Posted at 10:55 AM, May 15, 2018

A former Strongsville (Ohio) City Schools employee has been indicted for the alleged theft of several high-priced items, including a barn, purchased using school district funds.

On May 10, the Lorain County Sheriff's Office and the state auditor executed a search warrant at the residence of Robert Schwerman, 49, who was a former maintenance foreman for the Strongsville City School District.

The investigation involved the alleged theft of $65,000 worth of material goods from the district dating back to 2013, according to the state auditor, who held a press conference on Tuesday announcing the indictment.

Schwerman is accused of stealing an upgraded John Deere utility vehicle valued at more than $20,000 and a $9,000 zero-turn lawn mower. He also is accused of stealing a small barn from school grounds, which authorities later found in his yard.

“This man was shameless. He treated the school district like his exclusive personal home improvement store – a new home generator, a utility shed, a furnace, air conditioner and water heater. Nothing was off limits, apparently," said state auditor Dave Yost.

In June 2017, the superintendent received an anonymous tip about alleged fraud, which was then reported to the Ohio Auditor's Office.

Property recovered during the search included:

  • Generator ($3,912)
  • Thermal camera ($3,775)
  • Snow plow ($3,500)
  • Air conditioner ($2,545)
  • Utility shed ($2,500)
  • Furnace ($1,792)
  • Water heater ($1,557)
  • Carport ($901)
  • Air purifier ($675)

The state auditor said Schwerman's backyard was overflowing with evidence. Many vendors had relationships with the district so he would have the items delivered to the maintenance garage and then he would take them to his house, authorities said.

Schwermann has been indicted for theft in office and tampering with evidence, both third-degree felonies.