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Washington Elementary Custodian Charged With Theft of School Camcorder

Denis Vega allegedly stole $1,200 camcorder from locked cabinet.

On May 26, Wyckoff Police said school officials at Washington Elementary reported the theft of a $1,200 camcorder from a locked cabinet. School officials, police said, then set up a video surveillance, and the next day Denis S. Vega, 46, of Paterson, employed at the school as a custodian, was witnessed opening the cabinet and removing a $200 camera.

Officer Peter Goodman investigated the initial report. Vega is assigned to the schools as a custodian hired by a firm providing custodial services for the school district. Detective Sgt. Joseph Soto and Detective Michael Musto confronted Vega later in the day and brought him to headquarters for questioning, police said. Vega was subsequently charged with two counts of theft, and is now under investigation for another theft at Eisenhower School.

Police said the investigation determined Vega had sold both cameras in Paterson for $50 each. Vega was released in his own recognizance and the complaints have been referred to Bergen County Superior Court.

Before her retirement at the end of last year, the previous school Superintendent Dr. Janet Razze drew the ire of some parents, teachers and the Wyckoff Education Association for among other things which was done as a cost-saving effort.

Susan June 01, 2011 at 05:43 PM
The district rarely, if ever, had problems when the custodians were employees ... the BOE and the Business Administrator - Alan Reiff along with then Superintendent Razze drew criticism from MANY parents, teachers and the WEA for what was presented as a "money saving" alternative. Who exactly will now replace the stolen property? And, how will that effect what the private firm will charge us in the future should they need make a claim on their insurance? Perhaps those that were vocal about not making the change might have been more right than wrong! It was a bad idea then and it will prove to be a bad idea in the future.
joanne June 02, 2011 at 03:38 AM
Guess Mr. Vega didn't appreciate an honest day's pay for an honest day's work.....thought he'd take the fast track.....$50 will get you far, Denis! What a waste of taxpayers' money......hope you do some time for STEALING!
Beth Wharton June 02, 2011 at 11:47 AM
That is so unfortunate, and what we were all worried about. We lost many hard working, honest custodians in that decision by the Wyckoff BOE back then. I hope this incident warrants a serious discussion about what has happened, and what could happen in the future. Do they really know who is walking the halls amongst our children? This incident gives me the creeps.
SML7799 June 02, 2011 at 04:14 PM
'Do they really know who is walking the halls amongst our children? This incident gives me the creeps.' Ditto...disturbing news.
Marc Phillips June 03, 2011 at 03:35 AM
I may not be a property tax paying resident, but we certainly did not have this problem when I was at Washington School. Our janitors were our "friends" and actually, the most popular faculty members among students. These friendly faces wouldn't dare steal anything--especially the Washington's World A/V equipment. It also says something about the janitor, if he sold an expensive camera for much less than the total value. It might be worth it to perform background searches and drug tests.
Hahaha June 03, 2011 at 08:46 PM
Perhaps those that were vocal about not making the change might have been more right than wrong! It was a bad idea then and it will prove to be a bad idea in the future. Our janitors were our "friends" and actually, the most popular faculty members among students. These friendly faces wouldn't dare steal anything--especially the Washington's World A/V equipment. I feel sorry for the people of Wyckoff that you and your children had to go through this. I am sure your schools are no where as clean and safe as when you had your own custodians. I would really like to know the true dollar amount that they really saved if any....We were more then just custodians at the schools.
Gravatas June 03, 2011 at 09:07 PM
Without commenting on whether outsourcing the school custodians was a good idea or a bad one, the argument that the fact that one of the new custodians allegedly stole something shows that it was a bad idea is illogical. Several years ago, the school business administrator embezzled millions of dollars...by the logic of some of the other commenters, I guess we should outsource the administration of our school district since one of the in-house employees stole from us.....

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