Monday, November 19, 2018
Public safety

Pasco deputies: Elementary principal stole $900 from 9-year-old

LAND O’LAKES — A 50-year-old elementary school principal was arrested Thursday after deputies said he stole money brought to school by a 9-year-old student with a mental disability, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.

Connerton Elementary School principal Edward John Abernathy of Land O’Lakes is accused of stealing $900, deputies said.

On Oct. 22, the student brought $2,100 of his parents’ money to school. Once teachers realized he had, deputies said, they took it, counted it and locked it in the principal’s office. Abernathy returned to work the next day, deputies said.

The student’s mother went to collect the money on Oct. 26, deputies said, and in turn Abernathy handed her a wad of money.

As she was walking to her vehicle, she counted the cash and realized Abernathy had only handed her $1,200, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

She talked to her son’s teacher, thinking maybe there had been a mix-up with the count. She and her husband learned there hadn’t been, deputies said.

So she called the Sheriff’s Office, and on Thursday a deputy interviewed the family, Abernathy and school staff.

The deputy learned that Abernathy had counted the money himself and verified it was $2,100, and that he had later hidden it inside of a speaker on top of a shelf in his, according to his arrest report.

Abernathy changed the story he told the deputy several times, according to the Sheriff’s Office, even suggesting that the student could have taken the missing $900.

When the deputy told Abernathy that reaching the speaker — about 6 feet off the ground — would be hard for an elementary-age child, the principal said it would be "a bit of a reach," according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Abernathy, whose salary is $91,112, was booked into the Land O’Lakes Detention Center on a charge of grand theft. He was freed after posting $2,000 bail.

Pasco County schools Superintendent Kurt Browning said Abernathy will be placed on paid administrative leave while the district gathers more information about the arrest.

Comments
Motorcyclist killed in Port Richey after drunk driver turns in front of him, FHP says

Motorcyclist killed in Port Richey after drunk driver turns in front of him, FHP says

Dustin Shawn Hogan of New Port Richey died from his injuries at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point, according to the FHP.
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Brandon man riding Uber home is killed while stepping into I-75 traffic

Brandon man riding Uber home is killed while stepping into I-75 traffic

The incident occurred about 1:45 a.m. Monday after the passenger became agitated and the Uber driver pulled to the side of the Interstate near its intersection with I-4, the Highway Patrol said.
Updated: 15 minutes ago
Hawaii woman, 33, falls off motorcycle, is struck and killed on I-4

Hawaii woman, 33, falls off motorcycle, is struck and killed on I-4

PLANT CITY — A 33-year-old Hawaii woman riding on a motorcycle along Interstate 4 fell off and was fatally injured when a car struck her as she lay in the roadway, the Florida Highway Patrol said.The incident occurred just before midnight Sund...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Two killed in St. Petersburg crash; portion of 38th Avenue N closed

Two killed in St. Petersburg crash; portion of 38th Avenue N closed

Two people were killed early Monday morning and a portion of 38 Avenue N is closed following a single-car crash.
Updated: 3 hours ago
Hudson man dies when Jeep crashes after leaving roadway

Hudson man dies when Jeep crashes after leaving roadway

The man's jeep struck a fence on the west shoulder, collided with a tree and overturned.
Published: 11/18/18
FHP: Palmetto man dies in motorcycle crash on Howard Frankland

FHP: Palmetto man dies in motorcycle crash on Howard Frankland

The 31-year-old crashed his motorcycle into the back of a utility trailer.
Published: 11/18/18
Police: One dead after Tampa home invasion robbery

Police: One dead after Tampa home invasion robbery

An unidentified man died after suffering upper body trauma during the robbery, police said.
Published: 11/17/18
Updated: 11/18/18
Sheriff: Pasco teacher filmed student undressing, arrested on voyeurism charge

Sheriff: Pasco teacher filmed student undressing, arrested on voyeurism charge

Deputies said Fivay High School teacher Thomas Kovack admitted to recording a 17-year-old student as she changed her shirt.
Published: 11/17/18
One dead after Friday night shooting at Pinellas Park apartments

One dead after Friday night shooting at Pinellas Park apartments

The male victim has yet to be identified.
Published: 11/17/18
Inside the newsroom: Tampa Bay Times project team takes a deep dive inside a notorious Florida death penalty case

Inside the newsroom: Tampa Bay Times project team takes a deep dive inside a notorious Florida death penalty case

A project team at the Tampa Bay Times explores the death penalty in Florida through a notorious 1975 murder case.
Updated: 10 hours ago