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Probe launched after game funds go missing / January 16, 2019

The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office criminal investigation division and Mecklenburg County Public Schools central office have launched independent investigations into missing gate receipts from a trio of basketball games at Bluestone High School.

The money was collected from spectators who attended basketball games between Park View High School and Bluestone High School on Dec. 20. However, the missing sum does not appear to include revenue from concession sales that evening.

School officials, investigators with the Sheriff’s office, and those close to the probe say a substantial amount of cash has gone missing. The exact amount has not yet been confirmed.

Bluestone Principal Darnel Carter was made aware of the matter when it happened at the end of the school semester in December, according to Superintendent of Schools Paul Nichols. Carter immediately launched an internal investigation, calling on Bluestone Athletic Director Dan Powell to look into the events that led up to the disappearance of the money. When asked about the incident, Carter directed questions to the superintendent.

Nichols said this week he cannot comment on the specifics of the case while it remains under investigation, but he did acknowledge the money was not in a secure location prior to going missing. It also appears that generally understood security measures were routinely ignored when it came to handling the money.

Nichols added that while there are no express policies and procedures for managing gate proceeds from school events, individuals who are responsible for oversight of funds are expected to handle transactions in a fiscally prudent manner — which includes safeguarding funds against loss or theft.

Nichols said he expects Director of Secondary Education Jeff Scales will be developing and implementing stricter controls for the handling of money at sporting events and other times when concessions and admission monies are collected.

Neither the Sheriff’s Office nor the central office is saying if it has focused on a specific suspect or suspects who may have had opportunity and motive to take the money. So far, with the help of the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, two individuals have been administered a polygraph exam.

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