Sheriff’s deputies arrested a part-time Wayne County Public Schools substitute teacher on multiple felony embezzlement charges Wednesday.
Deputies arrested and charged Carmelita Rae Gary, 63, of North Carolina Street, with seven felony counts of embezzlement of state property and seven felony counts of obtaining property by false pretense. She was booked in the Wayne County jail under an $8,000 secured bond.
Capt. Shawn Harris, with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, said deputies opened an investigation into several missing Texas Instruments calculators on March 26. The calculators, most of which were taken from Brogden Middle School, are WCPS property and went missing over a two-year period, officers said.
“(They) just didn’t know — it was so sporadic and from so many different schools,” Harris said. “Then, whenever some of the staff started having concerns, that’s when (WCPS) reported it for us to look into it.”
Deputies tracked down seven missing calculators that were sold to various pawn shops in Goldsboro, Harris said. The calculators are valued around $100 each, and only one or two were taken at a time.
“The ones that we found were (taken) over a two-year period,” Harris said. “That’s why it was so hard for them to determine.
“It was just one or two here, one here — it was nothing that was obvious.”
Harris could not elaborate on what concerns were reported to WCPS but said the investigation is ongoing. He said deputies are also investigating a separate matter with the schools. Harris could not say what the other investigation is about or who is involved.
Embezzlement occurs when employees take property that was entrusted to them and convert the property for their own personal use, Harris said.
During the investigation, deputies worked closely with WCPS employees, including Tim Harrell, director of project operations. To track down the missing calculators, deputies cross examined serial numbers, dates calculators were sold to pawn shops and the dates and schools where Gary worked as a substitute teacher, Harris said.
“It took a couple weeks just to sit down with all the records,” Harris said. “The schools were very helpful, they always are.
“They’re always looking to assist us in cases such as this, and they’re always trying to protect the property the schools own.”