UPDATE: Cook Accused of Stealing Speaks Out

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 8/27/14 @ 11:30 p.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- "I've never been a thief," said Christine Buckley. "Everybody in this neighborhood knows that I am not a thief."

In a matter of hours, Buckley says the credibility she's worked years to achieve has been destroyed.

Tuesday night, the head cook at Riverside High School and her coworkers, Debra Stump who managed the cafeteria and custodians Linda Oda and Thomas Osborne, were arrested.

Court documents show the four admitted to state police they took items paid for with taxpayer dollars; things like food and cleaning supplies.

In the criminal complaint, it says Buckley admitted to allowing staff members to take food. She denied that during our interview.

"Did you allow the staff to take hams and turkeys?" I asked.

"No, not that I know of," said Buckley. "Nobody took any of that."

Buckley says the only thing she took was food leftover from her own tray after a meal!

She did admit she knew about the thefts, as did others, but they were unsure who was behind them.

"We have been complaining on Mondays for years that food has been missing out of our freezer and refrigerator," said Buckley.

According to Buckley, those complaints were passed along to the school's principal.

Now, Buckley is on leave from the place she's worked since 2007 and is fighting not only for her job, but for her reputation.

"As God as my witness, I know they're wrong about me," said Buckley.



UPDATE 8/27/14 @ 12 p.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Four school employees are accused of stealing thousands of dollars from Kanawha County schools.

Chief Custodian Linda Oda, custodian Tommy Osborne, cafeteria manager Debra Stump and head cook Christine Buckley, all employees at Riverside High School, were arrested late Tuesday night and charged with fraudulent schemes, conspiracy and embezzlement. These are all felony charges.

According to the criminal complaint, on August 18, an officer was executing a domestic violence petition when one of Oda's relatives claimed she had been stealing from the board of education for the last 30 years.

The relative then showed the officer garage bags, a large number of bottles of Dawn dish washing detergent, several cans of Pledge furniture polish, toilet paper, bottles of industrial size pine-sol, industrial packages of Clorox wipes, several pounds of cheese, large amount of block butter, apple juice, frozen strawberries, fajita vegetables, bags of french fries, bags of sausage patties, containers of cooking oil, vinegar and a 50 pound container of flour, as well as a new industrial vacuum cleaner assigned to Riverside High School, according to the complaint.

The officer says later that day, he interviewed Oda and she admitted to stealing $100 to $200 a month in food and cleaning supplies for the last two years from the school.

According to the criminal complaint, Oda also claimed the head cook, Christine Buckley, ordered cleaning supplies and gave them to her. Oda also told the officer that other cooks and custodians were involved.

Buckley later admitted to police she allowed the staff to take hams and turkeys, along with other items from the kitchen with her and Stump, the cafeteria manager, had knowledge and gave permission, according to the complaint. Buckley also says she has taken packaged sandwich meat home herself on multiple occasions.

During an interview with Stump, state police say she also admitted she allowed all the cooking staff and custodians to take hams and turkeys from the school freezer.

The officer later interviewed some other employees who worked at the school and they also admitted they were stealing from the school.

According to the complaint, another employee at the school, says she stole a bottle of Dawn dishwashing liquid and bottles of Comet Bleach. She also told police Oda would give her these items from the supply closet. This employee has not been charged in the case.

Osborne, one of the custodians, says he also took items from the school. According to the complaint, Osborne says he took chicken nuggets and has two hams currently in his freezer. He also says he has a mop bucket and mop belonging to the school.

According to the complaint, Osborne also claims that Oda and another employee filled trash bags with food and took them out of the school two or three times during the summer break.

Troopers say the suspects have been stealing items from Riverside High School for several years.

Last week, police say the suspects were suspended from the district without pay.

WSAZ.com called Kanawha County Superintendent Ron Duerring for comment, but he declined an interview. Duerring says he won't comment because it's a personnel issue.

All four of the suspects are scheduled to be back in court September 4 at 1:30 p.m. for their preliminary hearings.

There's no word if any more charges will be filed in the case.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Four school employees were arrested Tuesday night for allegedly stealing from the school system, West Virginia State Police say.

Chief custodian Linda Oda, custodian Tommy Osborne, cafeteria manager Debra Stump and head cook Christine Buckley have been charged with fraudulent schemes, conspiracy and embezzlement -- all felonies.

Troopers say the suspects have been stealing items from Riverside High School for several years. They're accused of stealing food and cleaning supplies that troopers say has cost taxpayers thousands.

Last week, they were suspended from the district without pay.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
WSAZ NewsChannel 3 645 Fifth Avenue Huntington, WV 25701 304-697-4780 WSAZ Charleston 111 Columbia Avenue Charleston, WV 25302 304-344-3521
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 272823251 - wsaz.com/a?a=272823251