Husband of middle school vandal watch arrested after allegedly stealing from school


OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - WFTV found out the husband of an Osceola County middle school vandal watch was arrested for allegedly stealing from the school.

Joel Thomas was picked up at Denn John Middle School after he police said he took property from the media center.

Thomas and his wife, the vandal watch, lived in a home on school property.

A district spokeswoman told WFTV the vandal watch has been fired.

Arrest papers said Thomas went into the school's media center, grabbed a flash drive, and slipped it into his pocket.

Administrators had a security system set up in the media center that alerted them anytime someone went in it.

"I think it's really not a good thing," said Osceola County resident Christina Larrauri.

"I think it's really messed up. He's here protecting the school," said resident Isaac Martinez.

The system also records movement and Kissimmee police told WFTV it caught Thomas rifling through a desk drawer and stealing.

He's seen putting is hands in his pockets several times, according to arrest papers.

Investigators are working to figure out if he stole anything else.

WFTV learned Thomas is also a mechanic and maintenance worker for the Osceola County School District, so he had keys to the school.

"I don't think he should be inside the library. He should protect the outside part of it," said Martinez.

Thomas, who makes around $44,000 a year, is on leave, pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

When officers talked to Thomas, he told them he was simply borrowing the flash drive and planned to return it.

He wasn't available for an interview.