A man accused of stealing from Elks Lodge will be sentenced on Thursday

May 31 – JEFFERSON – An Ashtabula man will be sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty to stealing thousands of dollars from Ashtabula Elks Lodge No. 208.

Joseph W. Pierce, 74, accepted a plea deal from prosecutors, pleading guilty April 21 to one count of robbery, a fourth-degree felony, court records show. The second count of grand larceny, also a fourth-degree felony, was dismissed as part of the plea bargain, records show.

The first count, Pierce, took more than $36,000 from the lodge between Oct. 1, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2021, according to the indictment.

Count two Pierce stole more than $46,500 from the lodge between Jan. 1, 2018 and Oct. 1, 2020, the indictment alleges. This charge was dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

After the April 21 plea hearing, Common Pleas Judge Thomas Harris revoked Pierce’s $10,000 personal bond.

According to the Elks Lodge #208 website, Pierce served as the “president administrator” of the lodge.

In early July 2022, lodge members reported missing money from slot machine profits, according to Ashtabula County Sheriff William Niemi.

An audit of slot machines from last year revealed the discrepancy, according to a sheriff’s report.

At first, an Elks officer told investigators that about $35,400 was missing in slot profits from October 2020 to December 2021, but further investigation revealed that more money had been stolen from a longer period, according to the sheriff’s reports.

The Elks Lodge No. 208 operates out of a large lakefront building at 3115 Lake Road West.

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