Questions about solicitations in Lebanon land man in jail in Dayton

A man questioned on Thursday in Lebanon in connection with solicitations allegedly made on behalf of homeless veterans was in Montgomery County Jail on Friday, facing a handful of charges filed over the past year.

Joseph E. Steward, 50, of Dayton, was booked into the county jail about 6 p.m. Thursday, about an hour after he was turned over to Trotwood police, according to police and jail records.

Steward was being held in lieu of $25,000 bond.

He was transferred by Lebanon police to a Trotwood officer on Thursday following an investigation prompted by questions about a group of people claiming to be selling items for homeless veterans outside the store off U.S. 42 in Lebanon.

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“We received a call from Walmart management yesterday afternoon, asking for an officer to be present while a manager spoke with the persons taking donations for Disabled American Veterans,” Capt. Dave Gehringer said in an email Friday. “We identified several persons involved and made a traffic stop.”

Steward, who previously lived in Walbridge, Ohio, according to records, was arrested and transported to Montgomery County.

“We currently have an open investigation in regards to this call and are not prepared to share any details at this time,” Gehringer concluded.

“The store granted permission for a veterans group to collect money outside the front door,” according to a run sheet from the incident. “Now the store believed they are not legitimate.”

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Walmart store officials declined to comment.

On Friday, Steward was arraigned in Montgomery County on the warrants and charges, including fleeing and eluding and driving under suspension. He is scheduled to return to court on Dec. 4 and Dec. 5, according to records.

In Montgomery County Municipal Court, Steward is facing fleeing and eluding and drug paraphernalia charges filed on Nov. 2. He was released from jail that day on the condition he remain at the Beckett Springs Rehabilitation Center in West Chester and appear for court hearings, but failed to appear, according to court records.

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Steward also is named in a divorce case in Montgomery County filed on Oct. 17 and by the Ohio State Patrol for providing false information and driving under suspension in January.

He also was wanted by Trotwood police for obstruction of official business and drug paraphernalia charges filed in April and had failed to appear for hearings in this case, according to records.

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