A year-long corruption investigation culminated in the arrest of 20 people associated with the theft of more than $1.5 million from the Bensalem School District, police announced Tuesday morning.
Bensalem investigators made the arrests after they launched two separate investigations into alleged misdoings involving district staff. One investigation focused on “ghost employees,” the other on theft and illegal distribution of vehicles and related parts, township Public Safety Director Fred Harran said.
District Attorney David Heckler and Harran both said the investigation is not finished and more arrests are possible.
Jack Myers, the retired Bensalem School District business manager, was among those arrested in the corruption probe. He is charged with misapplication of entrusted property. Law enforcement said the 63-year-old Philadelphia resident knew of the many thefts occurring in the district and even participated in some of the activity.
The district’s current facilities manager, Robert Moseley, 61, of Bensalem was arrested and charged with misapplication of entrusted property for his part in the ghost employee investigation. In that case, police said multiple ground crew workers were getting paid for shifts they did not work. One employee did not report for work for up to three years, police said.
Head mechanic Fred Lange, 68, of Croydon was charged in August after it was uncovered he led the theft scheme being operated out of the bus garage, police said. Authorities called Lange the operations mastermind.
District mechanics Martin Chappell and Patrick Hammond were also arrested along with Lange.
Detectives told Patch that Chappell’s home garage was found to have a large surplus of vehicle parts suspected of being purchased with taxpayer money. One box of headlights was even addressed to the school district.
Hammond is suspected to have played a smaller role in the thefts. A search of his personal garage uncovered several small items believed to have been purchased using district funds.
One aspect of the crime involved ordering equipment through the district’s discounted consortium rates and then selling them out the figurative back door for less, keeping all the profits. Between nearly 7,000 bus tires and close to 2,200 batteries, the thieves are said to have swindled the district of over $1 million, police said. More money is alleged to have been spent on windshield wipers, oil filters and engine fluids, Harran explained during a late morning press conference.
Another angle involved Myers and Lange turning over the titles of 30 district buses, vans and pick-up trucks to Joel Zober, who owns a junkyard in Pipersville, police said. The vehicles were given to the junkyard and a group of classic car enthusiasts were able to pick other vehicles at the junkyard for free. Police called the group “The Breakfast Club,” due to their regular breakfast trips.
“All their people, their friends got to go to that junkyard and get parts free of charge,” Harran said. “There was a definite monetary value back.”
Harran called the group “very organized.”
Joseph Bound, owner of Bound Beverages on Bristol Pike in Bensalem, told police he bought items to maintain his vehicle fleet from Lange for the past 10 years. He said he paid cash for tires, synthetic transmission oil and transmission filters order by the school district, according to an affidavit.
“When gone unchecked for years, [the suspects] continued to do it. Those days are over,” Harran told reporters.
All of the suspects arrested on Wednesday were lead from the police station to District Justice Leonard Brown's courthouse where they were arraigned.
Below is a list of the people arrested by authorities on Wednesday:
Current and Former District Employees
- Former 28-year district business manager Jack Myers, 63, Hendrix Street, Philadelphia: misapplication of entrusted property
- Facilities manager Robert Moseley, 61, Byberry Road, Bensalem: misapplication of entrusted property.
- District bus mechanic Patrick Hammon, 53, of West Bensalem Avenue, Bensalem: theft and receiving stolen property
- Mechanic Roland “Tex” Angle, 72, of Mildred Avenue, Bensalem: conspiracy, theft and receiving stolen property
- Former Groundskeeper Supervisor Joseph Dyer, 43, of West Bensalem Avenue, Bensalem: theft and criminal conspiracy
- Former Groundskeeper Shannon Dyer, 39, of West Bensalem Avenue, Bensalem: theft and criminal conspiracy
- Groundskeeper Anthony Ruggiero, 38, of Ogden Avenue, Bensalem: theft and criminal conspiracy
Stolen Property Receivers and Distributors
- William “Gill” Slowe, 73, of Crescent Avenue, Bensalem: criminal conspiracy, theft and receiving stolen property
- Alfred Venturino, 59, of Fourth Avenue, Croydon: criminal conspiracy, theft and receiving stolen property
- Robert Lord Sr., 64, of Dunksferry Road, Bensalem: criminal conspiracy, theft and receiving stolen property
- Bound Beverages owner Joseph Bound, 65, of Ford Avenue, Middletown: criminal conspiracy, theft and receiving stolen property
- Smith’s Auto Repair owner Elwyn Smith, 56, of Ritter Avenue, Bristol: criminal conspiracy, theft and receiving stolen property
- Classic car club member William Klosz, 63, of Hawthorne Avenue, Bensalem: criminal conspiracy, theft and receiving stolen property
- Classic car club member Leo Cannon, 65, of Hampton Court, Newtown: criminal conspiracy, theft and receiving stolen property
- Classic car club member Wiliam O’Hara, 56, of Ash Avenue, Bensalem: criminal conspiracy, theft and receiving stolen property
- Classic car club member Ronald Stoud, 69, of Cliff Road, Bensalem: criminal conspiracy, theft and receiving stolen property
- Upper Bucks County junkyard owner Joel Zober, 70, of Magnolia Drive, Croydon: criminal conspiracy, theft and receiving stolen property
- Tow truck operator Wilson Lopez, 29, of Lincoln Avenue, Bristol: criminal conspiracy, theft and receiving stolen property