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Former CAPA teacher in bank robbery case charged with stealing school computers

| Monday, April 18, 2011

Two days before a former science teacher was arrested on charges connected to a bank robbery, Pittsburgh police said she admitted to stealing 10 to 15 laptops from a Downtown magnet school.

Police on Sunday charged Philicia Barbieri, 24, of Shadyside with theft by unlawful taking. School administrators confronted her with surveillance video showing her taking a laptop in March from a classroom at Pittsburgh School for the Creative and Performing Arts, according to a complaint filed against her.

Barbieri eventually broke down crying and admitted to administrators on March 31 that she took 15 laptops totaling about $22,500 from CAPA between December and March, the complaint said.

Barbieri admitted to stealing the laptops to sustain a heroin habit, the complaint said.

She is suspended with pay pending a due process hearing, said district spokeswoman Ebony Pugh.

On Friday, she was accused of being an accomplice in a Shadyside bank robbery.

Barbieri and her boyfriend, Alvin Carter III, 28, were arrested in the parking lot of the Barack Obama Academy of International Studies in East Liberty a short time after the holdup at Fifth Third Bank in Penn Circle South.

Barbieri was hired by the district as a full-time substitute in February 2010 and taught chemistry at Peabody High School in East Liberty, according to district records. School officials said she began teaching at CAPA in September.

According to her Facebook page, Barbieri is a 2008 graduate of Chatham University.

She told police "that she and Carter were desperate for the money after their landlord had come to them (Friday) morning looking for the rent," according to a criminal complaint filed to support the bank robbery charges.

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