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DA gets report on money missing from Charleroi schools cafeteria

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Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, 12:51 a.m.

Charges might be filed shortly in the case of money purportedly missing from the Charleroi Area School District's cafeteria department.

State Trooper Matt Gavrish of the Belle Vernon Barracks said Wednesday that he sent findings of his investigation to Washington County District Attorney Gene Vittone.

Vittone said he expects to review the report soon.

Vittone spent much of today in the City of Washington, where his drug task force, in cooperation with the Washington County Sheriff's Office, the state police, the Washington County Adult Probation Office and the City of Washington Police Department, conducted a sweep operation. Warrants were issued for 52 suspects.

Gavrish would not comment on whether more than one person could face charges in the Charleroi Area case.

He previously said state police had a couple persons of interest in the case and that more than one person could be charged. Vittone said it is his policy to not comment on specifics of cases until charges are filed.

Charleroi Area Superintendent Dr. Brad Ferko said he had not yet received a copy of the state police report.

“We're not sure when charges will be filed,” Ferko said. “They better be filed, that's all I've got to say.”

Ferko previously vowed that charges would be filed, adding at the time, “We will not have people steal from this district,” he said.

He said the missing money would not affect student cafeteria accounts.

Gavrish said the forensic audit of cafeteria money has been completed, but added the amount of money missing would be revealed when charges are filed, not before. He said news reports listing the amount of money allegedly stolen were premature.

Ferko previously said he was made aware of concerns involving cafeteria finances Nov. 2.

He credited business manager Crystal Zahand and former food services director Andy Bergman with alerting him to problems with the account.

Bergman, employed by food service contractor Nutrition Inc. in West Newton, was recently promoted to a regional manager post in the company.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or

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