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High school employee credited with stopping theft now charged with stealing bank deposits

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012 9:25 a.m. CDT

(MCT) — A high school cashier who helped police catch three women after a theft from the southwest suburban school last month has herself been charged with stealing nearly $10,000 in bank deposits from the school, authorities said.

Cheryl L. Becker, 54, of Oak Forest, appeared in Cook County bond court Oct. 5 facing felony theft charges after police said she stole about $9,200 in August from Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park, according to Orland Park police.

The missing bank deposits were discovered during an audit conducted by Consolidated High School District 230 officials after Becker alerted authorities to a possible theft in the office Sept. 5.

That day, three women had entered the cashier’s office while inquiring about registering a new student at the school. When they left, Becker realized $10,000 in cash was missing from the office, said Cmdr. John Keating. She notified school officials and the district notified police. The three women were arrested soon after in a car near the school, and the cash was recovered.

The theft, however prompted district officials to review the handling of school funds by Becker. Orland Park police were notified of two missing bank deposits discovered by the district, and a police investigation led to Becker’s arrest last week, police said.

The school district is continuing its audit, but at this point, police officials said they do not suspect any other employees were involved, and there is no indication that any other funds are missing.

Becker, who had worked with the district for nine years, “resigned under threat of dismissal,” said District 230 Spokeswoman Carla Erdey in an email. “The district has recovered some of the money and continues to work with authorities. The district’s insurance covers theft, as well.”

Reached by phone Monday, Becker declined to comment when asked about the report from Orland Park police.

“I don’t want to talk to anybody about it right now,” she said.

Becker, of the 15600 block of Vista Drive, was given a $30,000 bond and is scheduled to return to the Bridgeview courthouse Oct. 26, police said.  

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