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Former Morris Area School District employee pleads guilty to misdemeanor

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MORRIS - The Morris Area School District's former Director of Buildings and Grounds has pled guilty to one misdemeanor count of receiving stolen property and could face up to a year in jail, a $3,000 fine or both.

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David Stoffer of Hancock, Minn., who resigned from his position in the district on June 13, 2012, pled guilty to the charge Monday. Stoffer's lawyer, Jeff Kuhn, asked that the sentence be lowered to up to 15 days in jail with restitution of $650 and probation.

Judge Gerald Seibel ordered that a pre-sentence investigation be completed before Stoffer's sentencing so he could hear what the victim of the crime has to say.

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.

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Kim Ukura is the editor of the Morris Sun Tribune. 

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