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Mabton teacher charged, suspended on alleged theft

MABTON - Mabton police officers arrested a Mabton Junior/Senior High School teacher yesterday morning (Thursday) for allegedly stealing from a school employee.

The teacher, Chad Morris, was taken into custody on a theft charge.

Officers say the report leading to an arrest came in on a tip from Vice Principal Sue Sartain, who reported the theft of a "few hundred bucks from her office," according to Mabton Police Chief Rick Gutierrez.

Gutierrez says Morris, a language arts teacher, was processed and charged with third-degree theft, which is a misdemeanor charge.

"It's a misdemeanor because it was less than $750," Gutierrez added.

"He was very forthcoming and he owned up to what he did," the police chief said. "(Morris) was cooperative; he was processed and released with a court date in a couple of weeks."

Gutierrez says the range of penalties associated with a misdemeanor theft charge could be anywhere from community service to a month in jail.

"It depends on what the judge decides to dish out," he said.

Mabton School Superintendent Minerva Morales said she met with Morris this morning, Friday.

"He has been placed on paid administrative leave until further notice while we gather information to determine what our next steps will be," Morales said.

She says the district is working with its attorney on those next steps, which may hinge on the outcome of Morris' court date next month.

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