Former police officer pleads guilty

YOUNGSTOWN — Deon Gilbert, the former Youngstown police officer charged with stealing merchandise from the Boardman Walmart in September and October, pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor theft.

His plea came Tuesday in Mahoning County Area Court in Boardman.

Gilbert, 29, of Austintown was placed on paid administrative leave from the police department after five counts of first-degree theft were filed against him last fall.

An internal affairs investigation was carried out on Gilbert, and the police department was planning to fire him, but Gilbert resigned about a month ago, said Lt. Brian Butler of the Youngstown Police Department.

Gilbert, who was hired by Youngstown police in December 2019, was charged with stealing items between Sept. 21 and Oct. 16. A Walmart loss prevention officer reported the thefts to the Boardman Police Department.

Judge Joseph Houser found Gilbert guilty Tuesday of an offense of stealing less than $1,000. The four other counts were dismissed, and Gilbert was ordered to pay a $150 fine, $71 in court costs and $41.08 in restitution.

The thefts, which store security personnel said involved Gilbert and a woman, totaled $134.52, according to a Boardman police report.

The loss prevention officer said Gilbert and a woman had gone to the self-checkout area of the South Avenue store multiple times and “failed to scan several items” between Sept. 21 and Oct. 16.

“The incidents were all captured on video surveillance,” the security officer reported Oct. 25.

On Oct. 26, the security officer provided Boardman police with copies of store surveillance videos showing the incidents, as well as photos of the two people and their vehicle, the police report states.

Butler noted that the police department notified the Ohio Attorney General’s Office of the conditions under which Gilbert resigned. Doing so provides information to other police agencies in Ohio that might consider hiring Gilbert in the future.

Butler said up until a few years ago, police departments would report a police separation from employment to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, but the system was not set up to provide the circumstances under which an officer left his or her employment. For Gilbert, the conditions are that he “resigned in lieu of termination,” Butler said.

When reporting a separation from employment, a department can now report about eight different reasons for the separation, Butler said.

The woman accused of stealing with Gilbert, Shyla C. Montero, 25, of Detroit Avenue, Youngstown, also was charged with six misdemeanor counts of theft. Her case is pending with her next pretrial hearing Feb. 9.



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