A Sandusky business owner was expected to make an initial plea today to a theft charge in Sandusky Municipal Court.
Timothy Nyman, 44, of Sandusky, is charged with theft in connection with stealing charitable donations from his dying friend abut June 1, according to court records. If convicted, he faces six to 18 months behind bars.
Sandusky Police Detective Gary Wichman has said police had been investigating Nyman, owner of Black Tie Dance Studio on East Perkins Avenue, for about a month, according to the Sandusky Register.
Nyman is accused of opening a bank account under the name "Benefit of Brian Stuckey" in March 2012 and reportedly proceeded to host three fundraisers for Stuckey, who had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), aka Lou Gehrig's Disease.
Stuckey's relatives declined to comment Thursday when called by the Reflector, citing the ongoing investigation.
A 1989 St. Paul High School graduate, Stuckey died Dec. 27 at the age of 42 at his residence, according to his Reflector obituary. He is the only child of Alice and Bill Stuckey, owners of the Stuckey Agency in Norwalk, where he worked as an insurance agent.
Brian Stuckey volunteered as a youth leader for The Chapel in Sandusky and Norwalk. He worked with teenagers at the Sandusky location and with junior high students in Norwalk and conducted Bible study on Thursday nights.
In an April 2012 feature by the Reflector, Stuckey said he was told he might have other conditions that were treatable and he wasn't afraid of dying.
"I think heaven's going to be great," he said.
Stuckey said everyone in his church and dancing communities, fellow high school graduates and his work community, supported him as he struggled with his medical issues. The single man said he when a lady lacked a dance partner at a social event, he would dance with her because he wanted her to feel special, rather than left out.
"I've had wonderful amounts of support from everyone in my life. ... It's been amazing," Stuckey said.
On July 18, Stuckey's family reached out to investigators, wondering where thousands of dollars raised for Stuckey's medical expenses had gone. Wichman told the Register he soon learned Nyman, who was a supposed friend of Stuckey and his family, agreed to organize fundraisers to aid in his battle against ALS.
There were two fundraisers held at the then-headquarters of Nyman's studio: One in April 2012 at the Sandusky Elks Club and another in July 2013 at the Sandusky Knights of Columbus. A third fundraiser happened at The Elite School of Cosmetology in Norwalk.
Wichman said he determined through a subpoena for bank records that Nyman deposited about $5,000 into the bank account and discovered several transfers totaling nearly $2,000 in cash into his personal account.
"It appears it was being used for everyday living," said the detective, referring to Nyman reportedly financing trips to the gas station, liquor store, restaurants and clothing stores.
On Dec. 27, the day of Stuckey's death, Black Tie Dance Studio posted "Brian has passed. RIP dear friend." on its Facebook page, according to the Register. That posting, however, had been deleted or taken down as of Thursday.
About two weeks later, the account was drained completely and Nyman reportedly closed it down, Wichman said.
As of Aug. 13, police hadn't located or arrested the suspect. However, a court clerk told Reflector that Nyman appeared for a hearing Monday and was out on bond.
In addition to working at their Sandusky studio, Nyman and his wife have taught dance lessons at the Ernsthausen Community Center in Norwalk.