CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield County Career & Technology Center’s Truck Driver Training program coordinator is facing theft and related charges for allegedly stealing from the school when he was employed there.
Douglas Lynn McClellan, 62, of Philipsburg has been charged by Officer Elliott Neeper of the Lawrence Township police with misdemeanor counts of theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property and unsworn falsification to authorities.
On Wednesday charges were held to court following a preliminary hearing at the county jail. Bail has been set at $2,500 unsecured.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, on Feb. 12, Neeper responded to a report about an internal theft from CCCTC Principal Fred Redden.
He learned that McClellan was caught stealing diesel fuel and when confronted by school officials, he admitted to stealing fuel and other donated items.
Upon further investigation, Neeper found the alleged thefts were reported by employees to Redden and Acting Executive Director Norman Hatten.
The employees said that McClellan had pumped diesel fuel from a CCCTC program truck Jan. 26. According to them, McClellan had brought in five, 55-gallon barrels on his own trailer and pumped fuel from the truck in the diesel shop into the barrels.
Redden reviewed surveillance from Jan. 26 and determined it supported information provided by the employees. In the footage, McClellan arrived with the barrels lying down and it was clear they were empty.
Later in the footage, he was able to identify McClellan with the barrels standing upright. He had students assist him with loading them onto his personal trailer, and it was clear the barrels were full.
Redden also reviewed surveillance footage from Feb. 9. It allegedly showed McClellan removing jugs of motor oil and bags of fertilizer from the CCCTC via the diesel shop door. Neeper was provided with a copy of the video.
Redden, Hatten and Superintendent of Record Michelle Dutrow then confronted McClellan. He was asked about a policy for employees who wanted any donated items that wouldn’t be used.
McClellan confirmed he was aware of the policy, which involved completing a request form. He said the CCCTC received donations, such as grass seed and fertilizer that were usually damaged and shared with local entities.
When asked if he’d taken any donations, McClellan admitted to some soil and fertilizer. He indicated that he had not filled out the necessary paperwork.
McClellan was specifically asked if he’d taken jugs of motor oil. He said he’d taken some for the Chester Hill Volunteer Fire Department since it sits around for months without use.
When asked about the diesel fuel, he claimed he drained it from the truck because it wasn’t any good and had algae in it. He admitted that he transported it to a friend’s property and dumped it into a large containment tank.
McClellan was asked if his story could be verified and he claimed that his friend was away working. He said his friend wasn’t even aware he’d put the fuel in the tank and he was only trying to save program money.
When asked if he had permission to take the diesel fuel and other items, McClellan apologized for his actions. He was subsequently advised he was being placed on administrative leave.
It was requested that he stay off school property until the completion of the investigation. McClellan turned over his keys and left.
On Feb. 16, Neeper interviewed McClellan at the police station. He said the CCCTC often received donations from the Wal-Mart Distribution Center. He said the former executive director often advertised these items for sale and employees could mark a sheet with items they wanted.
After her resignation, McClellan claimed this policy was no longer followed. He said in February he picked up a donation, and it didn’t have a receipt from Wal-Mart staff.
When he returned to the CCCTC, the items were unloaded and there was a pallet of oil left in the diesel shop. He admitted to taking six to eight jugs of oil for the Chester Hill Fire Department.
McClellan told Neeper that he didn’t personally use this brand of oil. However, he claimed he was a life member of the department, which would contact him for donations from time to time.
During the interview, Neeper noted that McClellan became nervous and was unable to provide details as to the location of the oil. He claimed he had left it outside the fire station.
When Neeper interviewed the Chester Hill fire chief, he said the department never received any donations of oil. Neeper confronted McClellan with this information and he changed his story.
McClellan then admitted that he’d lied and actually taken the oil and fertilizer to a friend’s residence in Osceola Mills. He apologized for lying but said he didn’t want to get his friend in any trouble.
When asked about the diesel fuel, he admitted to taking it without obtaining the proper permission and transporting it to a friend who was the owner of a local trucking company.
McClellan also provided a list of other items from when he’d cleaned the CCCTC shop. He took items, such as batteries, scrap aluminum and engine parts, to Novey Metals, and oil to the trucking company owner.
The CCCTC provided Neeper with its estimated loss, which totaled $1,026.25.