Clinton County Sheriff’s Office Detective Sgt. Doug Eastes and Detective Sgt. Bob Gates were both recognized Aug. 27 during the Ohio Auto Theft Investigators Association annual seminar.
National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), Special Agent Rick Munk, nominated Eastes and Gates for the award, the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office announced in a news release.
“Detective Sgt. Doug Eastes was the lead detective in a three-year auto theft investigation with Detective Sgt. Bob Gates assisting at every point,” said Munk. “The criminal case involved the theft of vehicles and construction equipment in which the vehicle identification number (VIN) had been tampered with in many cases. During the investigation, several trailers, motorcycles, skid steer loaders, along with numerous other pieces of construction equipment were recovered with a value in excess of $100,000. Deputies from several counties, along with NICB agents, worked together and executed search warrants that led to the recoveries.
“The ring leader, Jerry Harner, was found guilty by a Clinton County jury at the end of a three-day jury trial. Harner’s girlfriend, who testified on his behalf, was subsequently indicted on two counts of perjury, six counts of tampering with evidence and two counts of falsification. Additional individuals were indicted as a direct result of the Harner investigation. Each of these Detectives worked hard and stayed focused throughout this case,” Munk said.
“Even though many victims were inconvenienced and in some cases unable to meet work obligations because of the thefts, Harner only received a 14-month prison term,” according to the news release from the sheriff’s office.
The Clinton County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank Special Investigator Munk and NICB for their partnership during this and other investigations. The institutional knowledge as well as the resources NICB provides to local law enforcement jurisdictions make our organization more efficient.
NICB was formed in 1992 from a merger between the National Automobile Theft Bureau (NATB) and the Insurance Crime Prevention Institute (ICPI), both of which were not-for-profit organizations.
The NATB, which managed vehicle theft investigations and developed vehicle theft databases for use by the insurance industry, dates to the early 20th century. The ICPI investigated insurance fraud for approximately 20 years before joining with the NATB to form the present National Insurance Crime Bureau.