Advertisement
  1. News

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

Connerton Elementary School principal Edward John Abernathy, 50, of Land O'Lakes, was arrested on Nov. 8, 2018, after deputies said he stole $900 brought to school by a 9-year-old student with a mental disability, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. [Pasco County Sheriff's Office]
Published Nov. 9, 2018

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.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Casey Cane has resigned as chair of Pinellas County’s Housing Finance Authority in the wake of a Tampa Bay Times story about his failure to disclose an arrest for a financial felony when he was 19. He also serves as a Palm Harbor fire commissioner. Casey Cane
    Casey Cane failed to disclose his arrest for a financial felony in 2006. He said he didn’t think he had to reveal that information.
  2. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor speaks to about 75 people Tuesday at a city conference on innovation and collaboration. (City of Tampa photo by Janelle McGregor) Janelle McGregor
    City Hall brought together startups and the nonprofits that nurture them for a discussion of possible ideas to improve city operations and service.
  3. Scott Purcell, a senior geophysicist with GeoView, left, and Mike Wightman, president of GeoView, use ground-penetrating radar to scan a portion of King High School campus in search for Ridgewood Cemetery. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Preliminary answers from the ground-penetrating radar could come as soon as next week.
  4. James Dailey, 73, was granted a stay of execution Wednesday. He had been set to be executed on Nov. 7 for the 1985 murder of 14-year-old Shelly Boggio. Florida Department of Corrections
    The execution will be postponed for 90 days for his attorneys to present their claims. Prosecutors can appeal. Dailey was set to be put to death Nov. 7. His lawyers have argued that he is innocent.
  5. Markeith Loyd, suspected of fatally shooting a Florida police officer, attends his initial court appearance Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017, at the Orange County Jail, in Orlando, Fla. Loyd spoke out of turn and was defiant during the appearance on charges of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend. He was injured during his arrest Tuesday night following a weeklong manhunt.
    The same jury found Loyd guilty last week of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting 24-year-old Sade Dixon outside her home in 2016.
  6. The new owner of a dilapidated mobile home park on Gandy Boulevard has sued the city of Tampa over a record-setting fine levied against the property for a massive tree removal in August. [CHARLIE FRAGO | Times]
    A Gandy Boulevard mobile home park owner is suing the city of Tampa over a record $420,000 fine .
  7. Dashboard camera video shows a Tampa police cruiser pursuing Dusharn Weems through a parking lot. A second later, Weems is fatally injured when the car strikes him. Courtesy Haydee Oropesa
    The family of Dusharn Weems, 23, claims an officer intentionally struck him after he was spotted driving a stolen car.
  8. Evangeline Cummings posted a video on Twitter of what appears to be a wasp stinging a coral snake that was dangling from a branch attempting to eat a dead snake. Evangeline Cummings/Twitter
    A coral snake found that out the hard way and a Florida woman caught it all on camera.
  9. Edward Nathaniel Holmes, 63, and Cynthia Ann Day, 49, a couple from Maryland, were found dead in their hotel room at the Grand Bahia Principe La Romana Resort in San Pedro de Macoris on May 30. Facebook
    News of the deaths of American tourists went viral earlier this year. Theories of tainted alcohol have damaged tourism to the island country since.
  10. An arrest report says a Customs and Border Patrol agent put 40-year-old Carlos Alberto Munoz-Moyano through a routine check after arriving at Miami International Airport on a flight from Chile early Monday. WILFREDO LEE  |  AP
    The flight attendants told agents they were smuggling the cash on behalf of someone else.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement