NR 16-07 Economic Crimes Task Force Arrests School Employee For Theft
A cooperative investigation between the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, Economic Crimes Task Force, Brevard/Seminole State Attorney’s Office and the Brevard County School Superintendent’s Office has culminated a two-month investigation into an organized theft ring operating inside the Brevard Public School Fleet Maintenance Facility. The investigation led to the arrest of 57-year-old, Edward Strobush of 1735 Misty Way, Titusville, yesterday after a search warrant was served at his residence. Strobush is the Foreman of the Truck Shop for Brevard County Public Schools, and was charged with Grand Theft, Scheming to Defraud, and Dealing in Stolen Property. He was transported to the Brevard County Jail with a $12,000.00 bond.
The investigation commenced in December after the Superintendent’s Office received information employees were possibly committing thefts at the fleet maintenance facility. The information advised employees were taking tools, parts and equipment from the facility as well as ordering parts on the school’s accounts and were then used for their personally owned property. This information was forwarded to the Sheriff’s Office and assigned to the Economic Crimes Task Force who began investigating the specific crimes. After multiple interviews, weeks of conducting surveillance, deciphering inventory records and purchase orders provided by the School Board, the Task Force obtained a search warrant. Multiple items were recovered during the search of the employee’s property, consisting of tools, parts and county purchased inventory. Due to the number of items seized, a supply truck was used to transport the evidence. Also during the search, investigators discovered the suspect was placing items on Internet marketing sites for resale. A second search warrant was obtained and several computers and other electronics were seized for further investigation.
This arrest is the first with more expected to occur in the coming days as interviews are conducted and additional search warrants are served. Based on the investigation to date, the criminal activities appear to be a practice among several employees to order equipment for personal use or resale, as well as to personally appropriate property from the School Board Facilities. It is unknown at this time an exact number of persons involved as the investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information about this Investigation is asked to please call Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Economic Crimes Task Force Agent Harry Bermudez at 321-633-8410, or CRIMELINE at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477), you can also visit http://crimeline.org/, or text ‘crimeline’ plus your tip to CRIME (274637). All information to CRIMELINE is confidential and you may be eligible for a reward.
Sheriff Wayne Ivey created the Economic Crimes Task Force in 2013. The Task Force is comprised of investigators from the Sheriff’s Office, Melbourne Police Department, Titusville Police Department and FDLE, as well as a prosecutor from the State Attorney’s Office who specializes in organized fraud.
Sheriff Wayne Ivey stated, “This case is the direct result of our new School Board Superintendent researching and evaluating the various accountings of departments within the Brevard County School system. Once evidence of potential wrong doing was uncovered, Dr. Blackburn immediately requested the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Economic Crimes Unit to conduct an in-depth and thorough investigation of potential theft and fraud by School Board employees. Our Economic Crimes Task Force did an incredible job in conducting the investigation which identified numerous suspects in a large scale theft and fencing operation.
This case exemplifies why our Economic Crimes Task Force was initially created and the importance of the partnership between the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, our entire law enforcement community and Brevard Public Schools. Of significance, the School Board has contracted with the Sheriff’s Office to fund a fulltime supervisor and agent to work at the School Board and provide security services for the thousands of students, educators, volunteers and employees in Brevard County.”
For additional information concerning this News Release, please call Major Tod Goodyear through the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Communications Center at 321-633-7162.