Parks worker arrested on theft charges

An Ashland Parks and Recreation Department worker has been arrested on theft charges after police recovered a city ladder, wheelbarrow, hand tools, gasoline and fertilizer at his Rogue River home, Ashland police said.

Harold Ross Straub, 42, was arrested Friday on charges of first-degree theft and first- and second-degree theft by receiving. He was lodged in the Jackson County Jail, where he remained Friday evening on $10,000 bail.

Managers at the Ashland Parks and Recreation Department contacted police after they got a tip that Straub, who has worked for the city for about 20 years, was suspected of stealing materials and supplies from the city. Ashland police detectives investigated for about a month and, through interviews, surveillance and other work, gathered evidence to get a search warrant, a city news release said.

Police served that warrant Friday morning at a home the 3900 block of East Evans Creek Road, Rogue River. There they recovered a variety of tools, fertilizer and a ladder and wheelbarrow belonging to the city of Ashland.

Ashland police Lt. Corey Falls estimated the tools recovered have a value of about $1,000. Investigators are still determining the amount of gas Straub is suspected of taking. Falls said the apparent thefts likely had been going on for several months.

In a preliminary statement released by city officials, parks director Don Robertson said the suspected theft was being taken seriously and would be pursued to the fullest extent of the law. The department also has launched a disciplinary process and investigation in concert with the police investigation, he said.

Robertson said he and the city's personnel department plan training to reinforce employees' obligation to the public, an obligation most city workers understand and uphold.

"It is a public trust," he said. "We're here to serve the public, not steal from the public."

Share This Story