NORFOLK — Police and the school department investigated allegations school finance director Larry Azer stole small items such as Pop-Tarts from King Philip Middle School, but the administrator said Wednesday the claims were false.
Both the police department and an attorney, Sarah Spatafore, acting on behalf of the school administration, looked into reports Azer took inexpensive items such as office supplies, boxes and the aforementioned toaster pastries.
The allegations were made by a school employee whose name was blanked out of a police report.
“Nothing was stolen,” Azer told The Sun Chronicle. “The allegations of theft were shown to be false.”
A police report by Detective Michelle Palladini said, however, that there was probable cause to believe Azer took Pop-Tarts without permission, but no charges would be filed because they were worth less than $10.
Azer said he never took the pastries. In the police report, he said he brought them at BJ Wholesale, but the report said the store does not sell the treats in that kind of box.
The report also states that police were told by Assistant Principal Nancy Fischer that another employee told her Azer took a bag of supplies from a closet. She told police the central administration does not get its supplies from the middle school.
The name of the reporting employee is also blanked out on the report.
The report states Superintendent Elizabeth Zielinski later said Azer had permission to take supplies home.
Milk crates he was seen removing from the school were used to move books at his home, he said. The report said they were back in his office when he was interviewed by police.
In a memo to Zielinski contained in the report, Police Chief Charles Stone said it should be concerning to the school department that an employee felt intimidated by Azer.
The report states Azer told the unnamed employee he knew it was the employee who “ratted” him out. But Azer told The Sun Chronicle, “I’ve never intimidated anyone in my life.”
There were also allegations Azer sought access to videotapes from security cameras, but he said he is in charge of security at the schools.
The police report recommended the school administration handle the matter. Stone left a voice mail for The Sun Chronicle saying “we did what he had to do” and “nothing further” will be done.
Zielinski said she could not comment because it is a personnel matter.