18 arrested for theft in Bensalem School District corruption probe

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Bensalem Township Police today announced the arrest of 18 people – many of them past or current Bensalem School District employees – accused of cheating taxpayers out of $1.5 million in two separate schemes.

Four members of the School District’s grounds crew were charged with theft and conspiracy in connection with what police are calling a “ghost employee” scheme. The employees allegedly failed to show up for work, but were clocked in by a foreman and paid for shifts they never completed. One employee was allegedly absent for up to three years while continuing to collect shift pay.

As a result of a separate investigation, 14 people were charged for allegedly participating in an elaborate scheme involving in the theft and resale of Bensalem School District vehicles, bus tires, batteries, and auto repair and replacement parts from the District’s bus garage.

Police said that investigation began with the August arrests of School District mechanic Martin Chappell, 61, and bus garage shop foreman Fred Lange, 61, who were charged with theft and receiving stolen property for allegedly stealing and reselling equipment. Lange alone allegedly resold more than $400,000 in stolen parts over a 10-to-14-year period.

The investigation into the vehicle part theft ring is ongoing and more charges may still be announced, according to police. Anyone with information is asked to call Bensalem Township Police at 215-633-3758.