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Sweetwater Investigates Cafeteria Employee Thefts

News of the investigation comes amid a flurry of scandals for the school district and South Bay educators.

The superintendent of the Sweetwater Union High School District confirmed Thursday that an investigation is under way into alleged thefts by the district's cafeteria employees.

Superintendent Ed Brand issued a statement in which he acknowledged that the investigation has been taking place since last summer, and that while it is continuing, some findings have already been turned over to the District Attorney's Office for review.

Brand said the dollar loss has not been determined, but the San Diego Union-Tribune reported the amount was around $500,000. He said the district would submit a claim to its insurance carrier.

The alleged thefts have been looked into by an external investigator, he said.

"The district cannot release any information, or the names, of those being investigated," Brand said. "Furthermore, the district cannot disclose if any of those involved have been disciplined because of confidential personnel regulations."

The newspaper reported that eight people are under investigation and that two, who were supervisors, resigned. They allegedly stole food and either kept it or sold it elsewhere, according to the U-T.

Last week, the District Attorney's Office filed charges against five people connected to the district over what prosecutors called a "pay for play" culture for companies bidding on contracts. The defendants include Brand's predecessor, two school board members, a former trustee and a contractor.

- City News Service

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