U.S. police officer nabbed in case of plagiarized play
An Ohio police officer who dabbles in amateur theatre has been suspended from work for plagiarizing a Canadian play and staging it as his own.
Edmonton playwright David Belke learned one of his plays had been plagiarized after a fan alerted him to a production in Los Angeles that resembled one of his plays.
Det. Jack Herman of Kent, Ohio, has admitted to plagiarizing one of Belke's plays and agreed topay an out-of-court settlement of $2,500, according to reports from the Edmonton Journal.
Belke wrote The Reluctant Resurrection of Sherlock Holmes in 1992 and it was produced as recently as last year in Edmonton.
But after hearing that a similar play had been staged in Los Angeles, Belke and his agent went on a sleuthing expedition of their own.
They discovered a version of the play had been stagedin both Los Angeles and northern Ohio.
Herman may also haveplagiarized scripts written by at least two other high-profile Canadian playwrights, Peter Colley's I'll Be Back Before Midnight and Kim Selody's Suddenly Shakespeare, according to the Edmonton Journal.
In 1999, Herman produced a play called The Unexpected Return of Sherlock Holmes, which was character for character, word for word the same as Belke's.
It played twice in Ohio with his Tree City Players, an amateur troupe in Kent, a university town near Cleveland.
Then Herman's friend, Bill Wolski, asked for the rights to produce the play for a Los Angeles theatre company.
Wolski didn't pay Herman for use of the play, but saidHerman was reluctant to include biographical information on the program.
When the plagiarism was discovered, Herman is reported to have said that he stole Belke's play to help keep his community theatre company alive.
Herman is under investigation by his employer over the plagiarism. The sheriff's office heard of the case from a reporter.
Herman runs theoffice's concealed carry weapons permit program, and has long been involved in the amateur theatre scene.