DEKALB COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) — A former teacher at DeKalb High School faces multiple felony charges after reportedly selling nearly $3,000 worth of school equipment for personal gain, according to DeKalb Superior Court documents.
In June, multiple school officials informed authorities about Trace Dean, a teacher in the school’s Agricultural Department, and claimed Dean had sold school-owned items from the department in 2022.
During the investigation, authorities learned that Dean had reportedly taken two welders while the department was being remodeled and sold them for a combined total of $1,600, according to court documents.
Court documents indicated Dean also made five trips to OmniSource’s Auburn location to sell scrap metal from the department, receiving over $1,100 across the five transactions.
DeKalb High School Principal Marcus Wagner reportedly informed investigators he never told Dean to sell equipment from the Agriculture Department.
According to Wagner, any equipment at the school either has to be approved to be sold through a silent auction or deemed worthless by the school board before equipment could be disposed of.
When speaking to investigators in July 2023, Dean said he had taken the welders home in 2018 after they had broken down and fixed them using his own parts and did not want the equipment to be scrapped since he invested his own parts into them, according to court documents.
Dean also told investigators he either gave some of the money to the maintenance department at DeKalb High School or kept the money in his “Petty Cash” drawer, which he said he used to pay for concessions, clothes and school trips for students, according to court documents.
According to court documents, investigators obtained school financial logs that reportedly showed Dean did not make any deposits related to the money he received from selling the welders and scrap metal.
Dean reportedly told investigators he used all of the “Petty Cash” prior to resigning from the school.
As a result of the investigation, Dean faces multiple felony charges, including three counts of theft, a Level 6 felony, and one count official misconduct, which is also a Level 6 felony.
Dean has an initial hearing in court set for Aug. 14.