A former Morrow police officer accused of stealing $4,600 from a memorial golf outing for a deceased Warren County sheriff’s sergeant is expected to plead guilty today to theft and tampering with evidence and records charges.
Ryan Hunt hosted a memorial golf outing for slain Warren County sheriff’s Sgt. Brian Dulle in July 2011, with proceeds to benefit the officer’s grieving widow and children. But Warren County Sheriff Larry Sims became suspicious when none of the money from the golf event was ever deposited into the account set up for Abbie Dulle and her children.
Sims said when Hunt started organizing a second outing in March of last year, his alleged crime came to light.
“He began reaching out to schedule a second annual golf outing, which caused a little stir within the Dulle family, because they had not seen any of the proceeds from the first one,” Sims said.
Sims said numbers were being floated in advertising for the second event, and other places, that the first golf outing raised between $6,000 and $10,000. The numbers were inconsistent so police started investigating, Sims said.
He said Hunt also allegedly altered a document that listed expenses from the event.
“There was an attempt to deceive and inflate some of the expenses,” he said. “It’s pretty unspeakable.”
Hunt finally gave nearly all of the money to the Dulle family’s memorial fund after police opened their case, officials said.
Hunt nor his attorney could be reached for comment Tuesday.
Dulle was killed in 2011 when he was hit while deploying stop sticks to try and halt a stolen car driven by Marcus Isreal, who is now serving 25 years to life in prison. Those in the area law enforcement community, who were reeling after Dulle’s death, said they were appalled by Hunt’s alleged actions.
Mason Police Chief Ron Ferrell said the news a police officer was involved in this situation is untenable.
“I think anybody in this business would be just as outraged,” Ferrell said. “I feel badly for the family because this kid was supposedly very close to the family on top of it. Whether it be another cop that did it or anybody in the general public, it’s hard to fathom someone would do that and take advantage of that situation.”
Hunt will be in Warren County Common Pleas Judge James Flannery’s courtroom this morning where he is expected to plead to a “bill of information” on theft and tampering with evidence and records charges.
Sims said the police investigation also turned up another case involving Hunt, which has been merged with the Dulle case. Southland Marketing and Development, Inc. out of Knoxville, Tenn, is out of between $30,000 and $48,000, according to Carol O’Brien, a special prosecutor from Delaware County who has been handling the case.
“Ryan has a printing type of business, and he was to do some commercial printing and mail these out to potential customers,” Sims said. “He billed this company for the full service and did a very small part of what he was obligated to do, but kept their funds.”
O’Brien said there is a “fundamental disagreement” between the two sides on the amount of restitution Hunt has to pay the marketing company. Hunt denied any culpability in the case up until the guilty plea was offered. She said she will accept probation as punishment because she has no choice.
“He is pleading to F-fours and an F-five and probation is mandated,” she said. “We also needed to get to a point in this case where it was going to be done for the family.”
O’Brien said she doesn’t know if Dulle’s widow will be in court, but statements from victims aren’t taken until sentencing. Sims said Dulle’s wife is devastated.
“She is hurt, hurt again, deceived by somebody who was supposed to be a friend,” he said.