School tech coordinator admits role in equipment “loss”


FARMER CITY, Ill. (WCIA) — Police, a federal prosecutor and school district officials aren’t commenting on what — or how much — a former technology coordinator apparently stole from the Blue Ridge school district. 

Last month, superintendent Susan Wilson confirmed to WCIA that Farmer City police were investigating a theft of “technology-related equipment” from the school district, but wouldn’t specify what had been taken or when the loss had been noticed. 

Emails obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request by WCIA, however, reveal an investigation into the incident has been ongoing since at least early this year.

On March 25, the earliest email provided by the district in response to the FOIA request, Wilson received a case update from Farmer City Chief of Police Glenn Neal, who said prosecutor Greg Gilmore “wants this to be a federal case, so that is a done deal.” 

“I have pledged my ongoing support to this investigation and continue to encourage moving it forward and arresting our suspect quickly,” Neal wrote, adding “We just need to keep it cool and let this play out.” 

By June 4, Wilson notified school board members and select staff that Neal had “made contact” with district technology coordinator Joshua Raymer.

Raymer and Neal were to meet the following day at the police department, Wilson wrote in the email. 

Hours later, Wilson sent an update.

“Josh has fully confessed to the issue… I’ll just say that this was totally unexpected,” she wrote.

Police declined to say whether Raymer — or any other individuals — had been arrested.

Gilmore also declined to comment on the case, adding that if an arrest had been made, “it would be public information” and that he “didn’t believe it had.” 

And while officials remain moot on what exactly the district lost, an email from Blue Ridge speech-language pathologist Tracy Barding to Wilson indicates that at least two items may have been part of that loss. 

“This is the email that you requested about the laptop computer that Josh Raymer gave me last year,” Barding wrote on June 4. “He indicated that it was a surplus computer that the district no longer needed or wanted and it was okay to take it. I also have a very old laptop that he indicated needed to be recycled. I will bring both items in to the unit office on Monday, June 10.” 

When reached via phone on Wednesday, all officials involved in the investigation described it as “ongoing” when declining to comment.

Raymer is no longer listed as a district employee; Wilson said he worked at Blue Ridge for nearly three-and-a-half years.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.