PATERSON, NJ – A teacher at School 25 was arrested Monday morning and charged with stealing a computer that was supposed to be used by her students, Passaic County Sheriff Richard h. Berdnik announced.
Mawiyah S Britton-Reed, 38, was arrested at her home on North 11th Street in Newark, according to Berdnik. Authorities said they tracked the stolen computer to her home from Absolute/Computer LoJack.
County detectives showed up at Britton-Reed’s home at 7 am. “As the situation was explained to her, multiple other computers were shown to the detectives,’’ said Bernik’s press release. “Ms. Britton-Reed became extremely nervous and advised the detectives that she did in fact have the laptop computer in question. The stolen Dell Laptop was produced and recovered.”
In May, authorities used the Lojack software to track down two other computers stolen from city schools. At that time, city education officials proclaimed in news stories that they had installed the software in 15,000 school computers.
But Britton-Reed apparently wasn’t paying attention.
She admitted in a sworn statement that the computer had been assigned to one of her students last year and she took the computer home after the student transferred out of the school, according to Berdnik. Once she had the computer at her home, she changed various settings and programs, converting it from school to personnel use, the sheriff said.
“The Sheriff’s Office will not tolerate any type of theft of public property,” said Berdnik. “An individual who is entrusted with public property, cannot utilize it for their own personal use. The students of Paterson deserve to use all equipment purchased for them by the Board of education.”
The sheriff's department credited the school district's security director, James Smith, and his staff for their cooperation in the investigation.
Britton-Reed was charged with one count of theft and one count of receiving stolen property.
Paterson Public Schools spokeswoman Terry Corallo said the district had been notified of the arrests and that officials would discuss her employment status, according to a story on northjersey.com.