Police say school employee took $1,000

BUCKHANNON — A former Upshur County Board of Education employee has been arrested for allegedly embezzling about $1,000.

Andrea L. Smith, 44, of French Creek, was a secretary at French Creek School when she allegedly took the money, according to the criminal complaint in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s office. Lt. Mark Davis, the investigating officer with the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department, wrote that as a part of Smith’s duties, she was responsible for collecting money from school activities, including child nutrition, and turning in the deposit daily to either the school principal or a person designated by the school  principal.

Between Jan. 29 and Dec. 27, 2016 Smith collected money at the school but failed to turn it into the school principal for deposit on a daily basis as set forth by the policy, according to the criminal complaint.

Smith allegedly admitted to Davis that she took money from the school for her own use.

“There were times when the money collected by Andrea Smith from the school was taken home with her and some of the money was used by her for groceries, gas and things like that,” Davis said in the complaint.

When Smith was asked if any of the late deposits were used for her personal use, she allegedly answered, “I don’t know, could have been, maybe not.”

The complaint lists two deposits: one from June 2016 for $640.55 which was altered and a second from April 2016 for $393 which was unaccounted for.

Davis put in the criminal complaint that restitution is requested back to the French Creek Elementary School.

Superintendent Roy Wager said the alleged embezzlement was caught during an audit of the finances.

He said that Smith had already left the employment of the board of education a couple months ago.  A search of board minutes showed that Smith’s resignation was effective Dec. 30, 2016 and was approved at the Dec. 20 board meeting.

Magistrate Kay Hurst arraigned Smith on the felony embezzlement account and set bond at $10,000.

If convicted, Smith faces confinement in the penitentiary for one to 10 years or, in the discretion of the court, confinement in jail up to one year and a fine of not more than $2,500.

In a separate case, Trooper C.C. Mayle with the Buckhannon detachment of the West Virginia State Police arrested Daniel Seth Stalnaker, 30, of Buckhannon and Lake Alfred, Fla., for two counts of possession of a controlled substance, Schedule I or II, a felony.

On Wednesday, March 1, Mayle responded to Sam’s Pizza for a report of a suspicious person in the parking lot believed to be  under the influence of narcotics or alcohol. Mayle located the blue Toyota Corolla with a male searching through the vehicle. When the state trooper made contact with the individual, later identified as Stalnaker, Mayle observed he allegedly had extremely dilated eyes, slurred speech and was unable to stand still, according to the criminal complaint.

Mayle did an officer safety search of Stalnaker, which revealed two black containers, one containing seven Alprazolam pills and the second a small amount of marijuana. Mayle also found two plastic bags containing a clear crystal like substance believed to be meth. Stalnaker allegedly admitted the substance was meth and gave consent for Mayle and Cpl. Theron Caynor with the sheriff’s department to search the vehicle. Inside the vehicle, officers located a brass pipe with a green leafy substance, three hypodermic needles and a spoon. In the trunk, five individually packaged plastic baggies of marijuana, two spoons, six needles, a scale and 19 baggies matching the one containing the meth were found, according to the complaint.

Hurst set bond at $40,000 — 20,000 cash and $20,000 surety.

If convicted, Stalnaker faces confinement in a state correctional facility for not less than one nor more than five years and/or a fine of not more than $15,000.

In other crime news:

* Johnathon F. Lane, 23, of Crawford, was arrested for domestic battery and unlawful restraint, both misdemeanors.

On Feb. 28, Lane was at his girlfriend’s residence when he got in her face and allegedly headbutted her and punched her in the arm, according to the criminal complaint. Caynor observed a red mark over the victim’s right eye, a scratch on her neck and marks and bruising on her left arm.

The victim asked Lane to leave the room and he would not, so she tried to leave the bedroom, according to the complaint. However, Lane allegedly grabbed the victim and slammed her on the ground and yelled that the victim wasn’t going anywhere and drug her back into the bedroom.

Hurst set bond at $50,000 cash and $50,000 surety. If convicted, Lane faces confinement in jail for up to a year and/or a fine of not more than $500 for domestic battery and confinement in jail for not more than one year and a fine of not more than $1,000, or both, for unlawful restraint.

* Derek Scott Jarvis, 43, of Buckhannon, was arrested for violation of a protective order, a misdemeanor, by Sgt. William Courtney with the Buckhannon Police Department.

On Feb. 28, Courtney met with the victim who stated that she had filed an emergency domestic violence protective order against her husband the previous day which was then served that same evening. The victim showed Courtney 18 text messages and three voicemails Jarvis allegedly left his wife since the DVP was served. Under the terms of the DVP, Jarvis was not supposed to contact, telephone, communicate with, harass or verbally abuse the victim.

Hurst set bond a $25,000 cash or surety. If convicted, Jarvis faces one day to one year in jail and a fine of $250 to $2,000.


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