9 Investigates School Employee Trying To Steal From Metro District

Thursday, March 6th 2014, 10:27 pm
By: News 9

A man, in charge of making sure kids get to and from school safely, has a cloud of suspicion over him after a school district investigation.

It all started with a tip to News 9.

"It's stealing from the kids. It's stealing from the schools. It's stealing from taxpayers."

Fearing retaliation, this whistleblower asked News 9 to hide his identity.

"It's wrong," he said. "I'd go to jail for such a thing."

He claims the transportation director for the whole Putnam City School District tried to pull a fast one, by getting brand new tires for his personal ride at the district's expense. And the man said he had proof.

The district's maintenance vehicle, known as number 261, is a Ford truck. The Goodyear tires on it are not that old. Our source says they were bought back in August. But according to a receipt, it was taken in for new tires again in January.

"We just got looking at it and said, 'Hmm, that's strange.'"

That's when he said it all started to make sense. While the receipt said Michelin tires went on vehicle 261, it also said they went on a Chevy Suburban, which just happens to be the personal vehicle of transportation director John Crafton.

The tag number on the invoice and Crafton's vehicle are a match. Pictures of Crafton's Suburban show Michelin tires on it that appear new. Our source said it didn't take long for someone to mention it to Crafton, who then snatched up the receipt.

"He basically got caught trying to get tires purchased by Putnam City Public Schools."

So News 9 took this straight to the district administration.

A spokesperson with Putnam City Schools said, "We learned about it when you called us with that concern. You heard it from an employee and within 30 minutes after that, we launched a full internal investigation."

Putnam City has wrapped up its investigation and we've learned John Crafton has resigned. Because this was caught, taxpayers were never out any money. We wanted to talk to Crafton, but all attempts to reach him have been unsuccessful.