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Ex-county employee charged with theft

LISBON — A former employee of the county engineer’s office, Melissa K. Brennen, was served a secret indictment charging her with tampering with records and theft in office.

Brennen 49, state Route 7, Columbiana, was served the indictment on Wednesday. The charges accuse her of tampering with receipt books and pay-in reports between May 1 and Nov. 8 of this year in order to steal at least $1,000, but less than $7,500. The first charge is a fifth-degree felony and the other a fourth-degree felony.

According to county Prosecutor Robert Herron, in late 2019 county Engeriner Bert Dawson confirmed there were irregularities in a cash account from the tax map office located on South Market Street in Lisbon. Those amounted to $2,940 in missing funds.

Dawson then reported his discovery to the sheriff’s office, which directed him to Herron’s office for an investigation to be conducted. Dawson came to the prosecutor’s office on Oct. 29 and a 10-day investigation was conducted under the direction of Chief Assistant Prosecutor John Gamble. The information obtained was then provided to the state auditor’s office, which conducted a forensic accounting investigation of the records from the tax map office.

That investigation was concluded on Jan. 6 and presented by Herron’s office to the grand jury, which met later the same week. The grand jury issued the indictments as part of more than 50 indictments issued that week.

Brennen, who has already has left her position in the engineer’s office, is scheduled to be arraigned in Common Pleas Court on Jan. 30.

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