A former trooper from the Delaware Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol was found guilty of three counts of theft after a one-day bench trial in Delaware County Common Pleas Court.
William P. Elschlager, 48, of Marietta, Ohio, stood trial Tuesday before Delaware County Common Pleas Judge Everett Krueger and faced one count of tampering with evidence and three counts of theft, all third-degree felonies.
Prosecutors said that police executed a search warrant at Elschlager’s Marietta home to find evidence in a Washington County criminal case and during the search they located two firearms that had been stolen from evidence while Elschlager was a trooper at the Delaware post of the OSHP.
Elschlager was indicted in May 2016 and charged with one count of tampering with records and six counts of theft, all third-degree felonies. Three of the theft charges were dismissed before the trial.
On Tuesday, Elschlager waived his right to a jury trial and elected to have the case heard by Krueger in a bench trial. At the conclusion of the trial, Krueger found Elschlager not guilty of the tampering with evidence charge and found him guilty of the three theft charges.
After the verdict, Krueger ordered that a pre-sentence investigation to be conducted and scheduled a sentencing hearing for Jan. 19 at 3:30 p.m.
“No one is above the law,” said First Assistant Prosecutor Kyle Rohrer. “Mr. Elschlager was a trusted law enforcement officer in Delaware County, and he manipulated that trust to steal a firearm from an evidence locker.”
Additionally, since his indictment in Delaware County, Elschlager has also been indicted in the U.S. District Court of Southern Ohio and he was charged with one count of cyberstalking and one count of deprivation of rights under color of law.
Court officials said that while Elschlager was a lieutenant at the Marietta post of the Highway Patrol in 2015, he began engaging in an affair with the wife of another trooper.
Court officials report Elschlager allegedly began stalking the victim in October 2015 after she ended their relationship. The affidavit alleges that he frequently followed the victim in vehicles, texted her with knowledge of her whereabouts, and showed up at her residence unannounced.
Officials said he also placed a GPS tracking device on her vehicle and conducted an unlawful traffic stop, during which time he turned off his audio recording device.
He is scheduled to stand trial for those charges on Jan 8.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol reported in 2016 that Elschlager was dismissed on Feb. 1, 2016, for “conduct unbecoming of an officer.” Elschlager had been a trooper for the highway patrol since 1997 and previously worked at the Delaware Post several years ago.
Contact Glenn Battishill at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.