Assistant Principal Pleads Not Guilty To Theft Charge
A former assistant principal in the Springdale School District pleaded not guilty Tuesday (Aug. 13) to a misdemeanor theft by deception charge and has been assigned to administrative duties in the district.
The lawyer for Angela Kay Coats entered the plea in Rogers District Court.
Coats and her lawyer were not required to appear in court for the arraignment.
Coats was given an Oct. 3 trial date. The Rogers city attorney said their office had a conflict of interest and asked the Benton County Prosecutor’s Office to handle the prosecution at the trial.
Deputy City Attorney Chris Griffin said a conflict exists because the City of Rogers is using the same attorney as Coats in a civil matter.
Rick Schaeffer, Springdale Schools spokesman, said Coats will not be the assistant principal at George Junior High School when school starts Aug. 19. She has been assigned administrative duties but will keep her $88,247 annual salary she received as assistant principal.
A parent who has a child attending George Junior High School said he is withholding judgment until the case is resolved.
“I’m actually mixed about the
situation, having a son ready to go to that school,” Aaron Nith said.
“I want to install values, moral values in him too and to have administrators to go through that kind of situation, I don’t know, it’s kind of iffy.”
Coats, of Springdale, was arrested July 9 after authorities say she bought “fraudulently” underpriced items and then returned the items for full refunds at Gordman’s, a department store in Rogers.
Coats was released July 10 from the Benton County Jail on a $5,000 bond, officials said.
An arrest affidavit states Coats received $181.98 in cash or credit for the fraudulent transactions.
The arrest affidavit does not specify how the prices of the items were fraudulently altered, although an affidavit of complaint by Jill Marie Timbes, the store’s asset protection agent, states that the items the suspect returned to the store had a sticky residue on the price tags.
“We have noticed several missing price tags on merchandise in the area Mrs. Coats gets her items from in the home department,” according to a hand-written statement from Timbes.
The affidavit states Coats purchased and then returned a heart plaque, a floral arrangement, a wall-decor piece, a clock and a coat hook during multiple visits to the store between May 28 and June 20.
For instance, the suspect paid $5 plus taxes on May 28 for a “fraudulently undervalued” heart plaque that had an actual retail value of $17.99, then paid $8.99 plus taxes on June 6 for a “fraudulently underpriced” floral arrangement that had an actual retail value of $32.99, and then returned the plaque and floral arrangement on June 8, receiving a refund of $47.23, the affidavit states.