A former Middletown City Schools contract employee has admitting to stealing 400 laptop computers from the district. Our partners at the Middletown Journal news say 29 year old Larry A. Osborne Jr. has entered a guilty plea to a charge of grand theft.
Osborne stole computers from the school district beginning in 2008. He was a computer technician contracted to work in the district by the Butler County Educational Service Center. The 400 mostly used and non-working computers had an estimated valued of $123,000, according to Superintendent Greg Rasmussen.
A employee reported to police on November 8 that about eight Apple laptop computers were missing or unaccounted for at the district’s warehouse. The department has recovered 46 of the 400 laptops.
The thefts were recently discovered when the owner of 1 Stop Shipping Shop on Vail Avenue became suspicious about the volume of computers Osborne was shipping. Last week, two detectives drove to Hallstead, Pa., to recover 28 of the stolen computers that were initially purchased on eBay by a minister. The minister had been told they were purchased at auction and he is not facing criminal charges, police officials said. Reeve said the other 18 laptops were recovered from 1 Stop Shipping Shop.
Since 2008, police say Osborne has received $62,000 through his Pay Pal account for all the merchandise he sold to the minister. Officers say Osborne stole the equipment, which had been left unattended, while making service calls in the district. Detectives say Osborne's activity didn't raise suspicions because of the nature of his job and because they say Osborne spread out the thefts at various schools in the district.
Osborne is free on his own recognizance. He'll be sentenced on March 14 and faces up to 18 months in jail.