EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - A local principal won't be back in school Thursday. She's been suspended by the EVSC.
Lodge Elementary Principal Patricia Edwards is accused of shoplifting merchandize, including clothing, cookware and holiday decorations.
Edwards is suspended, put on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation by the Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Office.
Edwards has been the principal at Evansville's Lodge Elementary School for more than 20 years.
Now she's accused of shoplifting more than $600 worth of merchandise from the Kohl's department store on Evansville's east side.
"I think it's a shame because the little kids are looking up to the principal and what are they going to look up to now? Someone who steals? That's not really a good thing," parent June Boyd said.
According to the Vanderburgh County Sheriff's office report, a loss prevention officer inside Kohl's observed Edwards pick out two digital photo frames, unpack the items from their boxes and then conceal the frames inside a bag at the bottom of her cart.
The report said she put one box back on the display shelf and stashed another inside a suitcase.
Investigators said she was watched as she made her way through several departments picking out nearly 60-items ranging from holiday-themed housewares like oven mitts and placemats to wooden bowls, children's clothing and sets of panties.
The loss prevention officer told deputies she hid most of the items in her bag before heading to the cash register.
She reportedly paid for 10 items before walking out the door with her cart.
Once deputies arrived, Edwards told them she was very remorseful and that she did in fact take the items without paying for them.
Edwards continued to tell deputies that she's never stolen anything before and that she was acting very out of character.
School was out due to the Veteran's Day holiday, but parents who live nearby Lodge Elementary said the situation is disappointing.
"I have a four-year-old and it kind of makes me think twice about putting them for school in there," Boyd said. "She's a principal. She's the leader of the school, so what does that kind of say about the school?"