Haldane Employee Arrested in Theft

Sheriff and Cold Spring police announce charges; accused resigns

By Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong

Haldane Central School District, Sheriff’s Department, and Cold Spring police officials on Thursday (July 11) collectively announced the arrest of a man employed at the school in the alleged June theft of an estimated $5,000 in cash.

Haldane Superintendent Mark Villanti, Putnam County Sheriff Donald Smith, and Cold Spring Police Officer-in-Charge George Kane reported the arrest of a suspect, identified as James S. Pavelock, a member of the school cleaning staff when the theft occurred. Villanti said Pavelock, a 26-year-old Beacon resident, had resigned from his Haldane job earlier July 11. He had been apprehended and appeared in court on Wednesday (July 10) and released without bail pending a future court appearance.

The theft was reported in early afternoon of Sunday, June 2, and thought at the time to have been committed after 11 p.m. the previous night, following the last of two performances (May 31 and June 1) of a middle school theatrical production. As the investigation proceeded in June, at least two people involved with Haldane suggested to Philipstown.info that the culprit or culprits likely absconded with funds raised by the play.

In announcing the arrest, school and law enforcement officials did not mention the source of the cash involved.

The case was referred to Investigator Robert Ferris of the Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation. The Sheriff’s Department said that Ferris subsequently alleged that someone had staged a forced entry into the principal’s office, found the key to the safe, and stole the cash. The Sheriff’s Department identified Pavelock as the individual who had called the police in June to report the crime.

Ferris and Investigator Michael Nalbone interviewed Pavelock, discussions that led to his arrest on felony charges of burglary in the third degree. A conviction could result in imprisonment for up to seven years.

Smith and Villanti lauded Ferris’s work. “We are always disturbed whenever we are called to investigate these types of crimes,” the sheriff said. “However, I commend Investigator Ferris’s comprehensive investigation into this burglary and the support of the Cold Spring Police Department. The interviews conducted by Investigator Ferris and the evidence he collected enabled him to clear this case by [an] arrest quickly.”

Villanti said that “we at the Haldane School District are very grateful to the Sheriff’s Office and Investigator Ferris for their dedicated work. I offer both a pat on the back for a job well done.”

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