Former Wapak utilities clerk pleads to theft in office

WAPAKONETA — Christine Steinke, a former utility clerk for the City of Wapakoneta, pleaded guilty on Monday to three felony counts and three misdemeanors related to her theft of city funds.

She faces a possible prison sentence of more than 14 years and has agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $251,635 to the City of Wapakoneta.

Steinke, 48, was charged by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office in December with 13 counts of tampering with records and two counts of theft in office. The investigation revealed that Steinke, during her tenure as a utility clerk from 2009 to 2021, allegedly took portions of customer payments to the utilities department for her own use.

Discrepancies were found by the Wapakoneta Utilities Department after a software upgrade.

As part of a negotiated plea deal offered by prosecutors, Steinke appeared in Auglaize County Common Pleas Court on Monday morning and entered pleas of guilty to theft in office, a second-degree felony; two counts of tampering with records, felonies of the third degree; and three amended counts of misdemeanor tampering with records charges.

The theft in office charge, a second-degree felony, carries a potential sentence of eight years, with a maximum of 12.

In return for Steinke’s pleas the state dismissed the remaining nine counts contained in the indictment.

A victim impact statement was ordered by Judge Frederick Pepple which could increase the amount of restitution owed by Steinke.

A pre-sentence investigation was ordered for Steinke and no sentencing date has been scheduled.