Defiance, Ohio: A case of theft has led a local man to his county Sheriff’s Office seeking answers. The victim was caught by surprise when the Ohio Sheriff told him that his property was not going to be classified as stolen and his office was “not going to do anything about it”. The conversation was recorded on video camera.
Defiance County Sheriff, Doug Engel takes a bold stance against constitutional rights while willfully violating his Oath of Office. The interaction was filmed on video and can be seen on YouTube.
In the video, the Sheriff tries to use tactics of controlling the narrative by attempting to paint a picture that the victim is simply someone who did not pay their bills and therefor the Sheriff’s office had no choice but to initiate legal actions. However, understanding the backstory of events shows a much more sinister scheme. Truth of events shows how dirty local officials of Defiance County, Ohio really are. Furthermore, there is no excuse for allowing the theft of the claimant’s personal property. As seen in the video, the Sheriff refuses to define what theft actually is.
If the Sheriff was to define theft, he would be forced to acknowledge that his office did in-fact commit armed robbery.
At surface, this appears to be a mere foreclosure case in which the homeowner refused to leave the property. This case goes much deeper than that, and the defendant claims his foreclosure was caused by the Sheriff’s Office.
This story begins on November 11, 2021. The Defendant, Lawrence Steele, was arrested for a claim of domestic violence. However, no proof of a crime or any act of violence has ever been submitted. In fact, the alleged victim admitted that there was no acts of violence toward herself. The only person claiming a crime had taken place was the arresting officer, Deputy Austin Little. In days leading up to the arrest; Little, a married man, was known to be having interactions with the alleged victim through social media.
On the following morning, Steele plead not guilty and was released from jail on an OR Bond. Later that day, he was pulled over and arrested again for supposedly violating terms of a protection order. Said Temporary Protection Order was not requested and was put in place on the court’s own motion. As condition of the TPO, defendant was not allowed to return to his home. Arresting officer, Sgt. Benjamin Moser, a relative of the alleged victim, claimed that Little seen Steele’s truck driving near the area and wanted him arrested.
After three more nights in jail, Steele plead not guilty and was released on a $10,000 bail. After being released from jail, defendant Steele hired an attorney, Nicholas Fee, from a neighboring county.
At his first pre-trial, attorney Fee met with Assistant City Law Director, Troy Essex, and returned to defendant with a plea deal. Steele refused the plea offer and told his attorney that he was innocent and not interested in any deals. However, Fee continued to pressure Steele to accept the deal after each remaining pre-trial. Concluding his third pre-trial, Steele informed Fee that he intended to sue the Sheriff’s office and the prosecutor for violating his rights if they did not dismiss their case.
The Plot Thickens
Two weeks later, Steele was terminated from his employment. His employer, Fountain City Leasing, is owned and operated by Hornish Bros. Trucking. Hornish is Owned by one of the highest ranking Masons in the area. All managing members of the company are members of that masonic order. The same order that the Sheriff, Prosecutor and Judge are members of. Attorney Fee is also believed to be a member. Also of note, several of the companies managers are members of city counsel. One of those members is also married to a member of the Sheriff’s Office.
At his final pre-trial, Fee assured Steele there was no way he would win at trial as there was substantial evidence against him. Fee then threatened defendant that he would have to pay an additional $1,500 in order to go to trial. After being pressured into accepting the plea deal, court orders were dropped. Upon returning to his home, Steele was presented with evidence that proved his innocence.
The alleged victim had refused to give an official statement to responding officers. On the day following defendant’s arrest, she met with Essex and informed him that she was not a victim. Nor did she agree with the TPO. She also noted that the house belonged to Steele and he was the only person legally entitled to live there. Essex refused to hear her concerns and refused to remove the TPO. As a result, she met with Steele’s attorney and offered him her sworn affidavit. The affidavit confirmed there was no acts or threats of violence.
Defendant Steele realized his lawyer had kept knowledge of the affidavit from him. Steele immediately contacted his attorney demanding a complete copy of his case file. Fee stalled the release of defendant’s case file, preventing him from filing a timely appeal.
Without a source of income to hire a new attorney, Lawrence realized he was going to have to continue this case on his own. Steele sold some items to get him through a year of paying bills while he studied the laws. The local court caused his case to drag out longer than he could afford. During this time, he had fallen behind on his mortgage.
Lawrence researched his mortgage and found that the bank had already been paid the full amount of the supposed loan. He submitted his answer to the foreclosure case but was ignored by the local court. The judge had decided in favor of the bank without making it prove its claim. Adding insult to injury, the prosecutor’s office submitted answer against defendant without being named as a party to the case. Soon after, the Sheriff sold the house at auction and served him with orders to vacate.
Realizing his original complaints to the Sheriff were being ignored, Lawrence returned to the Sheriff’s Office. Armed with a video camera, he resubmitted his complaints. He also made clear to the Chief Deputy that he felt these actions were wrong. Lawrence then questioned what their intentions were if he refused to vacate his own property. Chief Deputy, Cliff Vandemark, assured Steele that he would look further into the matter and report back to him. However, Lawrence never heard back from any member of the Sheriff’s Office.
Coming Back Full Circle
On August 21, 2023, Sheriff’s deputies showed up to Steele’s home in full force with guns drawn. They forced him out of his home and refused to let him back onto the property. Once removed from the property, Vandemark presented Steele with a court order finding him in contempt and giving him three days to vacate. The order was dated August 4, 2023 and was never sent to the defendant. Lawrence was then threatened with arrest if he did not immediately remove himself from the property. Sheriff’s deputies further refused to allow him to take any personal belongings. At that moment, the Sheriff’s office took procession to ALL of Lawrence’s personal property.
Chief Deputy Vandemark willfully lied to Lawrence and refused to report back to him about the situation. Lawrence’s case began with the Sheriff’s office violating his rights two days in a row. When Lawrence tried to honorably handle his case, the local judicial system took further actions against his rights. Lawrence filed his complaints to all county officials and even officials at state level. After seeing that Lawrence was refusing to give up his rights, the same local officials worked together to make him jobless and eventually homeless. Now the Sheriff has stolen or allowed the theft of Steele’s personal property and has gone on record refusing to uphold his oath.
The Struggle Is Real
A lesson learned for Steele is that standing firm for your rights will be met with the full force of local government against you. He was falsely charged by a deputy whom was having online interactions with his “girlfriend”. Then, falsely charged again by a deputy whom was related to the “girlfriend”. A Temporary Protection Order was unlawfully put in place without following due process. His lawyer ignored the violation of due process rights; and, had substantial evidence to have the case dismissed. Lawrence’s rights continue to be violated by the Sheriff, his Attorney, Prosecutor, and Judge.
If you would like to follow Lawrence’s case and other local cases he is helping with, for future article and video releases, you can also do so at his website, AmericaUncensored.net and YouTube. If you can and want to support his cause, you can donate at: PayPal (@AmericaUncensored), CashApp ($americauncensored), and Venmo (@AmericaUncensored).