Second Brevard Public Schools Employee Arrested In ‘Theft Ring’ Bust, Faces Two Felonies￼
By Space Coast Daily // February 11, 2016
charged with grand theft and scheming to defraud
ABOVE VIDEO: Sheriff Wayne Ivey addresses the second arrest of a Brevard Public Schools employee, 55-year-old Dale Alan Gunther. (SpaceCoastDaily Video)
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – On Wednesday, the BCSO Economic Crimes Task Force arrested 55-year-old Dale Alan Gunther, of Titusville, on an arrest warrant for the charges of grand theft and scheming to defraud, according to Cpl. Dave Jacobs of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.
Gunther was booked into the Brevard County Jail and is being held under a $30K bond.
The suspect’s arrest was made in relation to an active and on-going investigation where school board funds were utilized to purchase items for Gunther’s personal use, according to Cpl. Jacobs.
Gunther, a Brevard Public School (BPS) employee, is a Transportation Specialist responsible for tool purchases.
In addition to his arrest, agents also executed a search warrant at his residence in Titusville where property belonging to BPS was recovered. The investigation determined that items purchased by Gunther totaled approximately $10K.
This arrest was in addition to the initial January arrest of 57-year-old Edward Strobush.
The arrests are part of a cooperative investigation between the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, Economic Crimes Task Force, Brevard/Seminole State Attorney’s Office and the Brevard County School Superintendent’s Office.
In addition, these arrests have also been part of a two-month investigation into an organized theft ring operating inside the Brevard Public School Fleet Maintenance Facility.
The investigation commenced in December after the Superintendent’s Office received information employees were possibly committing thefts at the fleet maintenance facility.
The information advised employees were taking tools, parts and equipment from the facility as well as ordering parts on the school’s accounts and were then used for their personally owned property.
This information was forwarded to the Sheriff’s Office and assigned to the Economic Crimes Task Force who began investigating the specific crimes.
ABOVE VIDEO: Brevard Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Desmond Blackburn talks about an organized theft ring operating inside the Brevard Public School Fleet Maintenance Facility. (Brevard Schools Video)
After multiple interviews, weeks of conducting surveillance, deciphering inventory records and purchase orders provided by the School Board, the Task Force obtained a search warrant.
“Multiple items were recovered during the search of the employee’s property, consisting of tools, parts and county purchased inventory,” said Cpl. Dave Jacobs.
“Due to the number of items seized, a supply truck was used to transport the evidence.”
Also during the search, investigators discovered the suspect was placing items on Internet marketing sites for resale.
A second search warrant was obtained and several computers and other electronics were seized for further investigation.”
Gunther’s arrest was the second in this investigation with additional arrests expected to occur as interviews are conducted and additional search warrants are served.
Based on the investigation to date, the criminal activities appear to be a practice among several employees to order equipment for personal use or resale, as well as to personally appropriate property from the School Board Facilities.
Anyone with additional information about this Investigation is asked to please call Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Economic Crimes Task Force Agent Harry Bermudez at 321-633-8410, or CRIMELINE at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477)
You can also visit crimeline.org or text ‘crimeline’ plus your tip to CRIME (274637).
All information to CRIMELINE is confidential and you may be eligible for a reward.
Sheriff Wayne Ivey created the Economic Crimes Task Force in 2013. The Task Force is comprised of investigators from the Sheriff’s Office, Melbourne Police Department, Titusville Police Department and FDLE, as well as a prosecutor from the State Attorney’s Office who specializes in organized fraud.