OAKLAND PARK (CBS4) – A Broward School District employee entrusted with keeping track of valuable equipment is accused of violating that trust.
Rhonda Johnson is charged with stealing musical instruments from Rickards Middle School, where she works, and pawning the items.
According to an arrest report, Johnson oversaw inventory of the musical equipment at the school.
Investigators say Johnson stole 7 Selmer clarinets and 3 Armstrong flutes. Detectives say Johnson pawned the instruments on back to back days in July at the Gold N Connection pawn shop in Oakland Park.
The instruments are expensive. A music store told CBS 4 News the clarinets retail for $950 each and the flutes retail for more than $850 each.
Johnson’s arrest report says she sold the clarinets for a meager $25 and the flutes fetched only $60.
CBS 4 News tried to speak to Johnson. However, no one answered the door at her home and a phone number listed for her has been changed.
Court records obtained by CBS4 News show that after her arrest, Johnson told detectives she did not pawn the instruments. However, investigators say her thumbprint and driver’s license number were on the pawn shop transaction form. In addition, detectives say a pawn shop employee identified Johnson.
Parents we spoke with at the school Thursday were outraged when we told them of the allegations against Johnson.
“Most schools are cutting back on music programs,” parent Heather Reid told CBS 4’s Carey Codd. “What they have is all they have. They’re lucky to have what they have. I don’t understand how anybody could do that.”
A search warrant revealed that detectives searched Johnson’s home for other musical instruments belonging to the school district. However records show detectives did not find anything.
Johnson faces a total of five felony counts, including two counts of dealing in stolen property, two counts of false ownership of pawned items and one count of grand theft less than $5,000.
The Broward County School district said Johnson is on leave from her job.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office and the School district’s investigative unit continue to investigate the case.