Student's Camera Catches Gym Teacher Stealing From Lockers

Wednesday, 27 Feb 2013 11:45 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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A California high school student who decided to conduct her own investigation into a string of thefts from backpacks during gym class was shocked to catch her gym teacher red-handed, but no one believed her until she produced video clips taken surreptitiously.

Justine Betti, a sophomore at Linden High School in Linden, about 60 miles southeast of Sacramento, said students started noticing items were missing from their backpacks in gym class earlier this year. Determined to find the culprit, she wedged herself into a locker in an undercover sting operation a few weeks ago.

"After all the kids left [the teacher] stayed in there and went through people's backpacks," Betti told KXTV, ABC News' Sacramento affiliate. "I saw her take money and then I told people and nobody believed me."

On Feb. 13, Betti hid again, this time capturing the thief with a cell phone camera. She set up another camera in a different locker to get a second angle.

"I didn't want to believe that she would do something like that because she was so nice, but then she did it," Betti told KXTV.

The camera footage captured the teacher rummaging through students' backpacks and taking what appears to be money from a pink bag.

Betti grappled with what to do with the evidence, and ultimately decided to go to the principal.

"He said that he'll investigate it and he told us to delete the video but I had already sent it to my dad," Betti said.

The teacher has been placed on administrative leave and the school district and San Joaquin County Sheriff's Department are investigating, according to KXTV.

"Makes you feel like your privacy was invaded, but you know, you can't help but feel bad for her, either. She was a great teacher," Linden High sophomore Kellie Martinez, who also had a class with the teacher, told KXTV.

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