Friday, January 29, 2016

Brevard School Employee Charged With Fraud, Grand Theft

Edward Strobush

TITUSVILLE, Florida -  A Brevard County Public Schools employee has been charged with purchasing tools through BPS and reselling those tools on the internet, according to the Brevard County Sheriff's Office.

A two-month investigation into an organized theft ring operating inside the Brevard Public School Fleet Maintenance Facility by the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Economic Crimes Task Force, the State Attorney’s Office, and the Brevard County School Superintendent’s Office, led to the arrest of 57-year-old Edward Strobush of Titusville, Florida on Thursday after a search warrant was served at his residence.

Strobush is the foreman of the truck shop for Brevard County Public Schools, and was charged with Grand Theft, Scheming to Defraud, and Dealing in Stolen Property. He was transported to the Brevard County Jail with a $12,000.00 bond.

The investigation commenced in December after Superintendent Desmond Blackburn's Office received information that employees were possibly committing thefts at the fleet maintenance facility. The information alleged that 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. 

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. 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 allegedly 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.

Investigators say that this arrest is the first with more expected to occur in the coming days as interviews are conducted and additional search warrants are served. 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, investigators say. It is unknown at this time an exact number of persons involved as the investigation is ongoing.

“This case is the direct result of our new School Board Superintendent researching and evaluating the various accountings of departments within the Brevard County School system," said Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey. "Once evidence of potential wrong doing was uncovered, Dr. Blackburn immediately requested the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Economic Crimes Unit to conduct an in-depth and thorough investigation of potential theft and fraud by School Board employees. Our Economic Crimes Task Force did an incredible job in conducting the investigation which identified numerous suspects in a large scale theft and fencing operation."

Anyone with 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, or text ‘crimeline’ plus your tip to CRIME (274637). All information to CRIMELINE is confidential and you may be eligible for a reward.