Over a six-month period, dating back to last December, over $15,000 worth of equipment went missing from the Escalon Unified School District.
Now, with the arrest of a district IT specialist, authorities hope those thefts are in the past.
Escalon Police reported the arrest of Thomas O’Hare, 31, in connection with the string of thefts. Some of the previously reported stolen property, police said, was located at his home.
“Between the high school, El Portal, the district office and the curriculum office, it was over $15,000 worth of items stolen between last December and July,” said Escalon Police Department Detective Anthony Hardgraves. “Over $3,000 worth of items were located at his house.”
O’Hare, who was part of the IT team for the district and also served this past winter as JV girls basketball coach, was arrested and booked at San Joaquin County Jail on charges of theft, identity theft and unauthorized use of an access card.
Police got involved when a fellow employee reported her ATM card had been used at a local bank while she was at work. Officers were able to obtain surveillance footage from the bank and identified O’Hare from there.
District Superintendent Ron Costa said officials are hopeful that the lengthy string of thefts in the district has come to an end.
“We’re working with the police department,” Costa said, adding that “appropriate action is taking place” at the district level regarding O’Hare.
The thefts went back several months, the largest single incident occurring this past spring, with several thousand dollars’ worth of band equipment stolen. Costa said the entire school has since been re-keyed.
Officer Steven Quilici worked with the bank and the school employee whose card was used, while Detective Hardgraves was then able to obtain a search warrant for O’Hare’s home.
“He lived in Escalon and, at his house, we found computers, and a camera, with a total value of over $3,000,” explained Hardgraves. “Other computers at his house were school property, he did not have permission to have them but they had not been reported stolen.”
Hardgraves said in many cases, school officials were not even aware the property was no longer on site.
“He was the IT coordinator, he had access to a lot of equipment,” Hardgraves said of O’Hare. “He would have had to be the one to report it missing.”
Further court action in the case is pending.