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Police Embarrassed When School Sting Backfires

March 1, 1991

FONTANA, Calif. (AP) _ A sting operation backfired when an informant worked his own scam and stole thousands of dollars in police cash, authorities said.

″The whole thing is obviously embarrassing,″ Capt. Frank Scialdone said Thursday. ″We’ll take our lumps.″

James Calvin Morin, 41, who as an informant had helped police arrest 30 drug dealers, was arrested and faced charges of felony embezzlement and burglary. He was being held in lieu of $150,000 bail.

Morin was placed inside the school in an effort to solve a series of thefts of computers, microscopes and other items.

Police asked Morin to buy stolen property and secretly tape-record the deals.

Over the next three months, Morin used $8,400 of police money to buy what he said were stolen goods and drugs from employees.

But as police prepared to make arrests, a school employee alleged that Morin had stolen a typewriter from the junior high school.

Police checked Morin’s audio tapes and found one that purportedly showed Morin buying that typewriter from another worker.

″It appears that he stole the property himself and kept the money,″ Scialdone said.

Several of the tapes Morin produced of supposed transactions apparently were faked, with Morin changing his voice to alternately portray himself and other employees, he said.

Scialdone said Morin did make some drug buys with the police money, turning the narcotics over to officers.

Four employees have admitted using or selling drugs, Scialdone said. No charges will be filed against them, he said.

The district attorney’s office also dropped recent drug cases involving Morin because his credibility as a witness in court has been destroyed, said Deputy District Attorney Karen Bell. Past cases are being examined.

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