Ex-school worker suspect in copper thefts

Saturday, September 20, 2008 6:00 AM EDT
By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff

Branford police are investigating a former Guilford public schools employee for allegedly fraudulently ordering and stealing copper from the school district.

The theft of about $1,200 worth of copper and tools occurred sometime this summer, Branford Deputy Police Chief Thomas Fowler said. Guilford school officials noticed something was amiss when they received a bill for the copper, despite having never received the materials.

Superintendent of Schools Thomas Forcella said it appears the ex-employee, who he described as a support staffer, ordered copper pipe without authorization.

“It was our feeling that there was a theft so we reported it to the police,” Forcella said.

He added that the man worked for the school district for about two weeks and was fired in the wake of this incident.

Guilford police turned the complaint over to Branford police because the supply company involved is located in Branford, Fowler said.

After investigating the incident, a Branford officer spoke with the former employee school officials had suspected and is applying for a warrant to arrest the employee. Police did not release the person’s name because the investigation is still ongoing, and Forcella did not identify him.

Fowler said it appears the former employee had access to the materials before they were delivered to the school district.

Guilford had construction projects under way at Elisabeth C. Adams Middle School, Abraham Baldwin Middle School and Guilford High School over the summer.

The district received two invoices for the materials dated Aug. 4 and Aug. 15, Fowler said, at which point officials realized that there was a problem. He added that the ex-employee could be arrested in the next few weeks.

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