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Police: 6th Graders Steal $10,100 In Bank Field Trip

May 27, 1989

JAY, Fla. (AP) _ Two sixth-graders have been charged with helping themselves to more than $10,000 in cash during a class tour of a bank vault.

Jay Elementary School Principal Elton Nowling said he dropped about 30 students off at NCNB National Bank Thursday morning and returned to pick them up about an hour later.

Hours later, the bank manager called to report $10,100 was missing.

Nowling said he called Santa Rosa County sheriff’s Deputy Scott Whatley, a resource officer at Jay High School, to ask students about the reported theft.

Whatley and another deputy questioned the students who went on the field trip one at a time.

Nowling said the boys didn’t try to hide the theft but apparently didn’t say why they helped themselves to the cash. The two allegedly stuffed their clothes with $100 bills.

Deputies recovered all of the missing money. Sheriff’s Capt. Terry Hardy said the boys were picked up by the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services. They were charged with grand theft and taken to the Youth Detention Center in Pensacola.

Nowling said the two, who had recently transferred to his school, aren’t representative of its students.

″Our kids are good kids, basically. We normally don’t have problems,″ he said.

Later, Nowling gathered all the sixth-graders for a lecture on ″finance.″

″I think (the incident) may have seemed kind of funny to start out with, but when I got there it ceased being funny,″ he said.

The principal said he had not had a chance to apologize to the bank manager, ″but I don’t think this will affect our ability to tour the bank as in years past.″

Nowling said the boys have been suspended from school for the remainder of the year. Bank officials refused to discuss the incident Friday.

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