Glouster Police Chief Arrested For Allegedly Harboring A Fugitive

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The arrest Friday of Glouster Police Chief Lucas Mace relates to allegations that he harbored a fugitive.

Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said two felony charges of obstruction of justice will be filed Tuesday in Athens County Municipal Court. However, Blackburn said the Athens County grand jury is meeting Tuesday and he expects at least part of the case will be presented.

Blackburn said the charges relate to a woman who had warrants out for her arrest from Perry County and Athens County. The woman, whom Blackburn declined to publicly identify, had a probation violation warrant from Perry County and a drug-related warrant from Athens County.

The allegations, according to Blackburn, are that Mace — knowing the woman had outstanding warrants for her arrest — took her out to dinner Thursday night and then back to his residence, where she spent the night. Blackburn said Mace should have arrested her.

Blackburn said it is also alleged that Mace knew that the sheriff’s office and prosecutor’s office had people in Glouster on Friday looking for the woman, and that Mace warned her and gave authorities misleading information.

Blackburn said the investigation in ongoing, and that a cell phone and computer are still to be searched. He also said investigators are looking at whether there are other instances of Mace giving safe haven to suspects.

With the investigation still in progress, the grand jury might not complete its work Tuesday, according to the prosecutor.

On Friday night, Blackburn had told The Messenger that the two obstruction charges resulted from an investigation conducted by his office, the Athens County Sheriff’s Office, Athens Police Department, Ohio University Police Department and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.

Blackburn also noted that a search warrant was executed at the Glouster Police Department with cooperation of Mayor Miles Wolf’s office.

“This has been on the radar,” Blackburn said Friday, “but quickly developed today.”

Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks confirmed to The Messenger Friday night that Mace had been arrested and, as of 10:30 p.m., was in the process of being transported to the Washington County Jail.

Mincks said that because Mace is a police officer, he would be placed in protective custody in a “lock-down unit” by himself during his stay at the jail.

A spokesman at the jail said that Mace posted $10,000 bond on Saturday morning and was released.

Wolf said Officer Ryan Nagucki has been appointed interim chief of the Glouster Police Department.

Also, Wolf said papers to place Mace on administrative leave have been drawn up, but he had not yet had an opportunity to serve them on Mace.

Village Council will hold a special session Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Water and Electric Office to discuss personnel matters, and Wolf said one of those matters will be the Mace situation.

Wolf said he wants to see what happens earlier Tuesday — whether there are additional charges and if the grand jury indicts — before deciding whether to recommend to Council that Mace’s leave be paid or unpaid or that he be terminated.

Blackburn said the woman who was being sought on the warrants has been taken into custody.

Messenger Editor Joe Higgins and Susan Tebben contributed to this article.