Trish Bennett, Editor
CIRCLEVILLE – The former executive director of the Pickaway County Veterans Service Office was indicted Friday on seven theft-related charges, including the alleged theft of an historic Nazi flag donated by a World War II prisoner of war.
Rebecca J. Lee, 52, was indicted by the Pickaway County Grand Jury on two counts of theft in office, both third-degree felonies; one count of theft in office, a fourth-degree felony; one count of grand theft, a fourth-degree felony; one count of theft, a fifth-degree felony; one count of unauthorized use of property, a fourth-degree misdemeanor; and unauthorized use of computer, cable or telecommunications property, a fifth-degree felony.
In the indictment provided by Jill Del Greco of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, two of the counts – theft in office and grand theft – allege that Lee, in her capacity as a public official, took possession of a Nazi flag that had been donated to the Veterans Service Commission several years before by local World War II veteran Snap Ankrom.
The flag, valued between $5,000 and $100,000, had reportedly flown over a Nazi POW camp during World War II and was retrieved by the prisoners when the camp was liberated by Allied forces. It was signed by various prisoners of the camp and brought back to Pickaway County by Ankrom when he returned from the war.
It had been displayed in a glass case in the local VSO office but was allegedly removed by Lee at some time prior to her termination as the agency’s director. At that time, Lee argued Ankrom had donated the flag to her personally, but officials, family members and the indictment maintain it was owned by the Pickaway County Veterans Service Commission.
Lee was placed on paid administrative leave due to charges of misconduct in office on Nov. 20, 2014, and was terminated from her position Dec. 18, 2014. The flag was allegedly discovered missing at some point following her termination.
The additional five counts of Friday’s indictment are charges stemming from the original allegations of misconduct in office, including the alleged theft of money and computer services, as well as unauthorized use of a credit card owned by the Pickaway County Veterans Service Commission.
The Grand Jury indictment was filed by Christopher L. Kinsler, appointed special prosecutor for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. The charges follow an investigation spanning more than a year by the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office, the Ohio Auditor of State’s Office and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
This article originally appeared on The Pickaway News Journal