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Jury Convicts Shop Teacher of Grand Theft

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A longtime shop teacher at Orange High School was convicted Thursday of stealing nearly $5,000 worth of tools and selling a donated pickup truck.

Russell Alan Schnepp, 60, faces up to three years in state prison when he is sentenced Sept. 22 by Orange County Superior Court Judge William W. Bedsworth.

Schnepp was found guilty of grand theft in connection with the theft of tools valued at about $4,800. Jurors set the value of the pickup truck at less than $400--making that crime a misdemeanor.

Jurors acquitted Schnepp of felony charges that he stole and sold two other donated vehicles--a 1974 Oldsmobile Cutlass and a 1964 Chevrolet motor home--and kept a donated 1966 Ford Mustang. Schnepp’s defense lawyer had argued that the statute of limitations had run out in those cases because they were discovered too late.

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The jury deadlocked on an embezzlement count based on an allegation that Schnepp had stolen a 1978 Mercury.

The donated vehicles were to have been used for parts in the classroom, but authorities say Schnepp instead sold them to students and acquaintances for a profit.

Schnepp’s attorney, Kenneth Schreiber, said Schnepp used the proceeds to run his underfunded shop program.


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