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District attorney's office takes paperwork from Wilkinsburg Middle School

| Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 11:06 p.m.

Detectives from the Alle-gheny County District Attorney's Office spent two hours at Wilkinsburg Middle School on Wednesday and left with paperwork as part of an investigation of funds for an afterschool program.

Wilkinsburg police in November charged the program's former coordinator, Christopher Spradley, with theft for stealing computer equipment.

Mike Manko, spokesman for the District Attorney's Office, said the detectives are examining financial records and grants connected to the case.

“Today's activity was a follow-up to the criminal case involving a misappropriation of IT equipment that the district received through a grant process,” Manko said.

Wilkinsburg substitute Superintendent Donna Micheaux referred comment to Allegheny Intermediate Unit spokeswoman Sarah McCluan.

“The district has no comment other than this is part of an ongoing investigation of the 21st Century afterschool program,” McCluan said.

The 21st Century program is run through the Consortium for Public Education and the district. Spradley was a district employee, court records state.

Wilkinsburg School Board President Edward Donovan did not return a message for comment.

District Judge Kim Hoots in March ordered Spradley, 31, of Lincoln-Lemington, to stand trial on the theft charge. Spradley could not be reached for comment, and his attorney did not return a call.

According to court records, police accused Spradley of taking a 3-D printer, valued at $3,200, two Toshiba laptop computers and two X-Box gaming systems from the district.

Spradley got into trouble Oct. 28, when police say he tried to sell the printer to Ninja Entertainment, Downtown. A store employee saw a Wilkinsburg School District logo on the printer and called the school. Officials said Ninja's records indicated that Spradley sold to the store two Toshiba laptops the week before, according to a police criminal complaint.

Police wrote that Spradley met with school officials the next day and told them that he owed money and was being threatened. Police said Spradley admitted the thefts but that he was planning to replace them within a week.

The investigation comes at a rocky time for the district. The school board voted in late March to fire Superintendent Lee McFerren amid animosity between him and the board.

Micheaux, assistant executive director for organizational leadership at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, has been serving as substitute since shortly after McFerren's dismissal.

Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or bkerlik@tribweb.com.

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