CARROLL – A former Bloom-Carroll Local Schools employee is under investigation for alleged theft from the district, the Eagle-Gazette has confirmed.
According to the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office, Zachary C. Taylor, 28, of Heath, is under investigation for the alleged theft. The police report notes missing items, an iPad Air 2 and a Mac mini CTO, are a value of $1,220.
Sheriff’s Office Detective Bureau Commander Jared Collins confirmed the investigation. No charges have been filed.
When asked about the investigation, Taylor said he was unaware of any police report filed against him by the school district.
“Their accusations are incorrect and I will certainly do what is necessary to prove that I didn’t do it,” he said. He added that until he spoke with his lawyer, he didn’t want to say anything else.
According to a police report, Superintendent Shawn Haughn, who was the high school principal at the time, told deputies in June, he’d given an iPad Air 2 that was turned in by a teacher to Taylor to give to the head of the district’s IT department. The department head claimed Taylor had not given him the iPad as of Nov. 10, the day the report was taken. The report notes the department head said a Mac mini CTO, a type of server, hadn’t been seen in the department since August.
“These discoveries were prompted by the theft of 10 iPads from the Bloom Elementary School in Lithopolis,” the report said. The report does not say whether the 10 missing iPads are related to the investigation of the missing iPad Air 2 and server.
According to the IT department head, after the server and iPad Air 2 were discovered to be missing, another employee approached him to say he’d pawned an iPad Air 2 at the GameStop on Ety Road, allegedly at the request of Taylor. The employee claimed Taylor had told him he was at his limit at GameStop, so he couldn’t pawn electronics there any longer. The employee also said Taylor had allegedly told him the iPad belonged to his daughter.
According to Lithopolis Police Chief W.J. Barton, who took the theft report at the elementary school, he’d found the iPad Air 2 that was reportedly pawned by the employee on Leads Online. The report notes the iPad was pawned on Aug. 15. The sheriff’s deputy reports having gone to the GameStop to inquire about the pawn and was informed it was no longer in the store and had been sent back to corporate, which the employee said was standard for items left in the store more than seven days.
According to Taylor’s personnel file, which was obtained by the Eagle-Gazette after a public records request, he was hired to work as a lead computer technician for the district on Feb. 11, 2016. His contract was renewed on a yearly basis.
In September, a letter was placed in Taylor’s personnel file to document a meeting between Haughn and Taylor, where Taylor is said to have confirmed using sick leave on days “when personal or vacation leave should have been used to attend to personal matters.” In the letter, the superintendent said he told Taylor he would request the district’s board of education terminate Taylor’s contract for “misuse and falsification of sick leave.”
On Sept. 25, Taylor submitted his resignation in writing, effective Sept. 29.
In his yearly employee evaluations, Taylor scored above average or satisfactory in all categories for the 2015-2016 school year. In the following year, he scored mostly satisfactory and needs improvement in the categories. In two categories — maintains an acceptable attendance record and is punctual and provides prompt notification of personal delays or absences — Taylor was rated unsatisfactory.
In an email to The Eagle-Gazette, Haughn confirmed Taylor’s resignation from his position at the district was not related to the alleged theft.
According to Haughn, the district technology coordinator was notified on Nov. 8 by the intermediate school principal that 10 technology devices were missing from the school. That day and the day following, the technology coordinator attempted to find the missing devices and couldn’t find them, Haughn said. Those same days, the superintendent said, the employee also discovered two additional technology devices missing from campus and the district filed a police report on Nov. 9 with the Lithopolis Police Department in regards to the iPads missing from the intermediate school.
A copy of a letter placed in Taylor’s personnel file, which was dated Oct. 5, was mailed to his address and requested tools owned by the district to be returned to the district by Oct. 16.
According to Haughn, the letter served as a reminder to Taylor that several tools issued to the employee during his employment needed to be returned to the district. Haughn listed several of the items as examples, including screwdrivers, tape measure, nut-drivers, and more.
“The letter was not in regards to technology devices because the district was not aware of the missing technology devices until November 8-9, 2017,” Haughn wrote. “The tools were returned promptly to the district in October.”