High school sophomore goes undercover to catch teacher looting backpacks

Eric Owens | Editor

A high school sophomore in the small farming town on Linden, California secretly captured video of her gym teacher evidently filching cash from student backpacks.

After students kept noticing items disappearing from their bags all year during gym class, crime stopper and detective extraordinaire Justine Betti decided to do something about it, reports KXTV, the ABC affiliate in Sacramento.

Betti’s initial strategy was simple: She wedged herself inside a school locker and waited patiently for the perpetrator to strike. She told the ABC affiliate that she was surprised to find out that a popular gym teacher with some three decades of experience was the backpack bandit.

“After all the kids left, she stayed in there and went through people’s backpacks,” Betti told the station.

Betti feared that no one would believe her, though. So, she did what any good gumshoe would do: She set up a video surveillance operation.

On Wednesday, February 13, the sophomore again deposited herself into a locker. This time, she brought her cellphone to take video. She put a second camera in another locker, as well.

The cameras seem to show the sticky-fingered P.E. teacher sifting through the contents of various backpacks. At one point, the teacher can reportedly be seen removing cash from a pink backpack.

“Something needed to be done,” Betti told KXTV. “Like, that’s not okay.”

“I didn’t want to believe that she would do something like that because she was so nice, but then she did it,” the high school sleuth added.

Betti took the video to the school principal. A number of her friends accompanied her for support.

The principal told Betti he’d investigate. He also told her to delete the incriminating video. However, Betti said, she had already sent it to her father.

KXTV reports that the unnamed gym teacher has since been placed on administrative leave.

A representative of the Linden School District had no comment for The Daily Caller and would not say whether the gym teacher is getting paid while she is on leave.

The local sheriff is also investigating but criminal charges haven’t been filed — yet.

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