SSISD employee confesses to theft of more than $21,000 from district
He charged copper tubing to school, then sold it
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

June 20, 2006 -- A former Sulphur Springs Independent School District employee has been accused of stealing more than $20,000 from the district by charging copper tubing to the school district, then selling it for personal gain over a period of time beginning in 2004. 

Although no arrest has been made, police investigators said the 38-year-old Sulphur Springs man has confessed to wrongdoing and indicated he was willing to make reparations for the theft.

"He told me he realizes he made a stupid mistake and he is ready to pay for it, too," Sulphur Spring Police Sgt.-Detective Monty Tipps said Tuesday morning.

School officials contacted police June 9 regarding the situation and the possible options the district could take. Tipps told them the district could pursue charges or let the employee pay back the funds over a period of time.

After a consultation between administrators, school officials on June 12 told Tipps the district did plan to pursue charges against the employee.

Last Thursday, school officials provided police with documentation showing that the employee had purchased copper tubing at a local supply company beginning in 2004 and continuing into this year, crediting the bill to the school district. School officials said the purchases were not authorized, nor were the products used by the district.

Tipps contacted the suspect, whose employment with the district has since been terminated. The man confessed he had charged the copper tubing to SSISD, then sold it to someone else, who he says was unaware the tubing was illegally obtained, then pocketed the cash for personal use. Overall, the former employee was said to have charged $21,306.79 worth of copper tubing to the school district.

Tipps said the case will be filed as a third-degree felony with the district attorney's office, which will handle further prosecution of the case. The man's confession was videotaped, and will likely be used to determine punishment.

"The district learned what had happened, contacted us and took the necessary steps toward punishment," Tipps said. "Anytime someone steals from the school district it's somewhat of a big deal because you're dealing with tax payers' money."

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