CARLISLE, Ohio (FOX19) - Carlisle High School’s head football coach admitted to stealing money from a different high school where he also worked, according to a report from the Beavercreek Police Department.
Thomas Joel “TJ” Smart, 29, works in the special education department at Beavercreek High School in addition to his coaching position at Carlisle. The police report says Smart is accused of stealing $600 in cash, student ticket rolls, adult ticket rolls and the ticket log form from Beavercreek.
Beavercreek police say Smart entered Beavercreek High School after hours on Sunday, May 12, and was seen entering the athletic director’s office. They say he used a key that he was not supposed to have a copy of and surveillance video shows Smart leaving with what appeared to be a large pile of clothing.
Documents say school officials noticed a large sum of admission ticket money, believed to be between $300 to $700 missing from its storage box. School officials also told police that they noticed admission tickets and a ledger for the ticket sales missing as well. They said the person responsible would have known where the boxes of money were kept, and to also take the ledger and tickets to hide the amount missing.
Police said that Smart is the only suspect that entered the office when the theft most likely happened and he also would have known how the ticket sales worked because it was previously a job assignment of his. They also said that the investigation showed that Beavercreek made cuts that included Smart’s previous job assignments.
Documents say Smart was a site manager but lost the position due to board policy changes. Those changes caused Smart to lose about $4,000 to $6,000 a year. Police say Smart became the prime suspect because when he entered the school, he never logged on to a computer and he had a motive to steal. They say he initially told officers he logged on to a computer to print football documents, but admitted to the theft when presented with evidence that he had never logged on to a school computer.
Officials say he initially only confessed to stealing $300 and claimed his theft was due to financial trouble. He said he planned to pay back the money a few days later, police say. During the interview, police say Smart confessed the amount may have been $500 and admitted he didn’t know the total amount for certain.
Smart told police the tickets and ledger could be found in his home and said he took them to hide what he’d done. Officers found the destroyed ledger in Smart’s vehicle.
Police arrested Smart on May 21 and charged him with one count of theft.
Carlisle superintendent Larry Hook says Smart had only recently been hired as football coach and hadn’t technically started his duties yet before the incident. He said this won’t impact the football team because the person that’s been doing Smart’s role is still there at this point. He says the coach is not a teacher at Carlisle High School.
Smart is currently on leave pending the police investigation and an investigation from Beavercreek High School.