Police Investigating Property Theft at Orange School District

Theft of school property is under investigation at the Orange Unified School District, police and school officials confirmed Saturday.

"There is an investigation of possible thefts, but no arrests," said Lt. Art Romo, spokesman for the Orange Police Department. Officers looking into potential criminal activity at the district were not available to comment.

The district has 26,000 students in kindergarten through high school, 3,000 employees and 37 schools serving Orange, Villa Park, Anaheim Hills and parts of Garden Grove, Santa Ana and Yorba Linda.

Richard L. Donoghue, the district's interim superintendent, said he had agreed to a request by police not to disclose the missing property until the investigation is completed.

Donoghue said money was not taken and that he had discovered the loss while reviewing school records.

"There were some activities or circumstances that did not appear normal in my view," he said. "After looking at our records, I felt we ought to have an outside agency look at the appropriateness of what I felt was inappropriate behavior."

He said more than one employee may have been responsible for the thefts and that police have questioned a number of employees, including some teachers.

"Police have been working on it for several months and the (school) board has been aware of it in general terms for about two months," Donoghue said. He added that he anticipates that charges, if any, will be filed soon.

"I am hoping to have something definitive to say by late next week," he said. "The sooner the better so people don't have a high anxiety level."

While Donoghue would not discuss the size of the loss that the school district has sustained from the possible thefts, he said: "It is something we can recover from."

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