11 Charged In 10 Cases Of Break-Ins And Thefts From Detroit Public Schools
Eleven people have been charged in 10 cases involving Detroit Public Schools break-ins and thefts of school laptops, computer equipment and cafeteria funds.
Three of those charged are former DPS employees -- a teacher, cafeteria employee and cashier helper. Five of the 11 remain at large for break-ins. Those charged today stole a total of 59 laptops from schools.
The charges were made as the result of a collaborative effort that began in 2009 among Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy, then Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb and the DPS Office of the Inspector General. So far, more than 40 criminal referrals have been directed to their offices.
"Our focus will never veer from improving the academics and stabilizing the finances of this school district," DPS Emergency Financial Manager Roy S. Roberts said in a statement Thursday. "Should anyone mistakenly take that as an opportunity to steal from our classrooms, the ongoing efforts to investigate cases and Prosecutor Worthy's attention to bringing charges should serve as a clear reinforcement that such will never be tolerated."
In one case, two teens, 18 and 19, allegedly stole 21 laptops from an elementary school. In another, a 63-year-old non-DPS-employee was charged for receiving 14 laptops stolen from a high school valued at more than $17,500 and keeping proceeds from sales.
More charges may be forthcoming from current investigations.
Last September, 10 men were charged for stealing 104 DPS laptops worth over $158,000 and selling them to places spanning from Arizona to the United Arab Emirates.
The theft of school funds and equipment, along with Thursday's charges, come amid rounds of cutbacks and layoffs amid a $327 million budget shortfall in the district.
Effective last month, DPS teachers took a 10 percent cut from their salaries and started to pay more for their health care, according to HuffPost reports.