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Deputies investigate multimillion- dollar theft

Courtney Astolfi • Aug 27, 2014 at 2:38 PM

A Margaretta Township man is accused of stealing millions of dollars worth of equipment and property from Owens-Illinois, an international glass company based out of Perrysburg.

In March, internal investigators at Owens-Illinois told Erie County deputies the manager of their corporate retreat property, Castalia Farms, allegedly stole more than $4 million worth of company property, Erie County Sheriff Paul Sigsworth said.

Owens-Illinois decided to close its Heywood Road facility in 2011, citing a change in federal law and business practices, as well as the center’s high operation costs. The manager was instructed to maintain the property with the understanding it would soon be sold off, according to court documents.

A December 2012 review of operation costs, however, uncovered sky-high expenses at Castalia Farms.

As investigators delved deeper into the case, they found “what appeared to be extremely inappropriate spending during the 2012 year,” according to court documents.

Company employees then interviewed the manager twice in March 2013, which “did nothing but increase all doubts concerning his veracity,” the documents stated.    In interviews with investigators, the man admitted to stealing the property, according to the documents, but exactly how much he stole — and how it was acquired — has yet to be determined.

On Tuesday, deputies executed three search warrants: one at the man’s Homegardner Road home, one at his mother’s home and one at his Barrett Road boat storage facility.

Deputies uncovered and documented a vast amount of property at each location — dozens upon dozens of firearms, thousands of dollars worth of tools, recreation vehicles, numerous sets of china, laptops, assorted electronics, and even fuel tanks he stored in his yard. This list is still only a small sample of all the items.

Owens-Illinois had received an anonymous letter accusing the man of selling the stolen goods.

Two days after deputies completed an inventory of the items, company employees went to the man’s home and gathered the property that belonged to Castalia Farms, Sigsworth said.

Given the volume of the financial data investigators are analyzing, Ohio BCI agents are also involved in the case. FBI agents are assisting as well, deputies said.

It could be months or more before charges are filed, Sigsworth said.

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