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Former Morris Area School District employee charged with receiving stolen property

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MORRIS - The Morris Area School District's former Director of Buildings and Grounds has been charged with a felony in the theft of more than $2,800 of school district property.

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David Stoffer of Hancock, Minn., who resigned from his position in the district on June 13, 2012, pled not guilty to the single county of receiving stolen property in his first court appearance Wednesday. Stoffer faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The investigation into suspected missing computer equipment began earlier this year when a school district staff member reported that a computer had gone missing from Stoffer's office. When a second computer was discovered missing at the end of May, the investigation began in full.

According to the complaint, a camera, placed in the custodian room after the first computer disappeared, showed Stoffer walking away from his office with what appeared to be a computer, then leaving the building with the computer.

Morris Police Department Corporal Anita Liebl and MPD Investigator Jason Reed served a search warrant for Stoffer's vehicles and residence on June 1, 2012.

According to the complaint, the two officers stopped Stoffer in the high school parking lot where they found a computer in the back seat of his vehicle.

When questioned, Stoffer said he was taking the computer home to see if it worked because he did not have time to test it at work, but "denied any intention of stealing the computer." According to the complaint, Stoffer also told police that two of the three computers at his home also belonged to the high school - one that he took home six or seven months before, and another that he found in the garbage and repaired with other discarded computer parts from the school.

After executing two separate search warrants of Stoffer's residence in Hancock, officers recovered $2,864 dollars worth of school district equipment in Stoffer's possession: two HP Compaq computers valued at $200 and $560 each, a ProTeam vacuum cleaner worth $395, Dewalt nailers valued at $250, a Makita drill and charger worth $50 and assorted computer parts, cleaning supplies, tools and other smaller value items.

At Wednesday's hearing, Stoffer was ordered to have no direct or indirect contact with the Morris Area School District and is banned from school property. Stoffer was released under his own recognizance until his next court appearance.

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Kim Ukura is the editor of the Morris Sun Tribune. 

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