LINDEN, CA - A teacher in Linden with nearly 30 years experience has been put on administrative leave after she was recorded with a phone camera, allegedly stealing things from student backpacks.
In the video, the teacher is seen pulling something from one backpack, before she moves to the next, where it's not clear if anything was taken.
"There is an employee being investigated, based on the video," Linden Superintendent Michael Gonzales said.
Gonzales wouldn't confirm the employee is a teacher, or offer that person's name. San Joaquin County Sheriff's spokesperson Les Garcia would confirm a teacher is being investigated for an alleged theft.
A person familiar with how the incident was captured said students were suspicious of the teacher after things were discovered missing. One of the students behind the sting said she witnessed the teacher in the act.
"We would be in the lockers. Like, we'd sit in the lockers and we'd see her go through bags," one of the students behind the sting said.
The student did not want to be identified. She said three of her friends were also in on it. They decided to catch her in the act on Wednesday by setting up a camera to record in a locker while the students were at P.E. class. They couldn't believe what their camera recorded.
"We were freaking out. Yeah, it was shocking," the girl said.
The woman has not been arrested and so her name isn't being released by authorities.
The teacher's sister confirmed it was her sister on the video.
"No, she didn't take anything. It looks like she's searching for something," the sister said. "She would never steal. She doesn't need the money."
Student Daniel Snider said everyone on campus is aware of the video and talking about it.
"I think that's terrible, someone here for so long, shouldn't be doing that," Snider said.
"It's not right for a teacher, especially without students being there, to go through a backpack," student Matt Horton said.
"I think it's crazy," said parent Tammy Snider whose child goes to the school. "It's sad."
Gonzales said the district would investigate the employee. Garcia said the sheriff's office is involved to determine if a crime happened and will forward that information to the district attorney's office for possible charges.