COLUMBUS, Ohio — A former Ohio State Highway Patrol commander accused of stalking a subordinate’s wife put a GPS tracking device on her car so he could follow her after she ended their affair, federal authorities contended in a criminal complaint filed Wednesday.
The complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Columbus accuses former Marietta post commander William Elschlager of cyberstalking and deprivation of rights under color of law. Marietta is in southeast Ohio’s Washington County, about 125 miles (200 kilometers) southeast of Columbus.
The FBI affidavit says the 48-year-old Elschlager had an affair with another state trooper’s wife in 2015 and began stalking her after the relationship ended. The affidavit details incidents that led to the woman telling investigators she was being “insanely stalked.” They included Elschlager pulling her over while in uniform to tell her that another trooper would be stopping her for speeding and the woman finding items stolen from her car after Elschlager gave her permission to search his home and truck.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office searched Elschlager’s home and electronic devices in January 2016 and found GPS tracking software on his cellphone and a real-time GPS locator on a computer. Investigators called the woman to confirm that she was in West Virginia as the real-time locator indicated and watched as she drove back into Ohio.
Investigators determined that a GPS tracker had been attached to her car for two months.
Elschlager’s attorney told The Marietta Times that Washington County sheriff’s deputies arrested Elschlager instead of allowing him to surrender on his own to embarrass him.
“He’s not been indicted by a grand jury,” attorney George Cosenza said. “He’s been arrested on a criminal complaint, and I’m sure he’ll face this head-on just like the other charges in Washington County.”
State court charges of stalking and accessing personal information about 10 other women from a law-enforcement database were previously dismissed against Elschlager. He still faces one count of tampering with records and six counts of theft for allegedly stealing guns that were supposed to be destroyed while serving as a patrol sergeant in central Ohio’s Delaware County.