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Heber Springs Woman Admits To Stealing From School Fund

HEBER SPRINGS, AR -- A woman in Heber Springs has admitted to stealing more than $15,000 from a fund for elementary school students and then spending it on luxury items.

Pauline Johnston pleaed guilty to a theft charge

HEBER SPRINGS, AR -- A woman in Heber Springs has admitted to stealing more than $15,000 from a fund for elementary school students and then spending it on luxury items.

37-year-old Pauline Johnston would not open the door when we showed up Tuesday afternoon at her home of Case Street in Heber Springs to ask about the theft charge she pleaded guilty to May 2nd.

Johnston was the treasurer of a parent booster organization called AGATE that raises money for students at Heber Springs Elementary.

Colleagues became suspicious earlier this year when they learned a $3,000 check from a Christmas fundraiser was never deposited.

"By the time we completed the investigation, we determined that they were actually missing a little over $15,000," said Detective Ron Wildman with the Heber Springs Police Department.

Johnston admitted to stealing the money from the fundraiser said she needed it to buy food for her kids, pay an electric bill and buy Christmas presents. 

But police say the money was actually used on luxury items for Johntson and her family including an expensive ring and out-of-state trips.

The money was supposed to be used for school functions like field trips.

"Pretty low life to steal money from kids," said Shelby McCann, a parent who has a nephew at Heber Springs Elementary.  "I don't know how someone could do that."

As part of a plea agreement Johnston will serve five years probation.  She'll also have to pay back the money she stole.
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