Former Springdale Assistant Principal Pleads Guilty

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A former assistant principal in the Springdale School District has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of criminal trespass, records show.

Angela Kay Coats entered the plea in Rogers District Court on Oct. 31 and was sentenced to four days of community service, according to court records.

She also was ordered to pay $370 in court costs and fines and was handed a 30-day suspended jail sentence, records show. She will not spend any time in jail in connection with this guilty plea unless she commits an additional crime in the next 12 months, officials said.

After being arrested in the summer, Coats was reassigned to administrative duties from her job as assistant principal at George Junior High School before school started Aug. 19, said Rick Schaeffer, Springdale Schools spokesman.

In her current job, Coats , 45, is being paid the $88,247 annual salary she received as assistant principal. She is working on technology issues in the Perry Professional Development Center, Schaeffer said on Wednesday (Nov. 13).

Coats, who lives in Springdale, was arrested July 9 after authorities said 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. (As part of her guilty plea, Coats was ordered to repay that amount to the department store; she since has repaid the entire amount, officials said.)

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.

The Rogers city attorney said their office had a conflict of interest and asked the Benton County Prosecutor’s Office to handle the prosecution.

Deputy City Attorney Chris Griffin said a conflict existed because the City of Rogers is using the same attorney as Coats in a civil matter.

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