Police chief acquitted of theft in office charge - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Police chief acquitted of theft in office charge

REMINDERVILLE, Ohio (AP) - A jury acquitted the village's former police chief of theft in office on a purchase made more than five years ago.

Richard A. Wilk, the tiny village's police chief for 14 years until his firing in September, told reporters Wednesday that the verdict gives him some vindication.

Wilk was accused by Summit County prosecutors of billing the village $404.37 for 20 badges his off-duty officers used at the former Geauga Lake amusement park, where he was head of security.

"Although I've had doubts lately about the (legal) system, it worked as it should," Wilk said.

Wilk is appealing his firing.

The relatively small amount of money Wilk was accused of mishandling was not the issue, assistant prosecutor Brad Gessner said.

"If $400 isn't enough, how much is?" Gessner told the jury. "If Richard Wilk isn't held accountable, who will be?"

The jury took about an hour to acquit Wilk.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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