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Hall parapro suspended after arrest

Investigation into theft, drug charges involves multiple law enforcement agencies

POSTED: April 16, 2009 10:15 p.m.

Hall County Schools officials have suspended a paraprofessional following an arrest by the Pendergrass Police Department with a case that involves several law enforcement agencies around Northeast Georgia.

Michelle Funderburk was booked April 8 into the Jackson County Jail on theft by receiving, possession of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana, said Maj. David Cochran of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

Cochran said a hold was also placed on Funderburk by the Cornelia Police Department and the Habersham County Sheriff’s Office.

Prior to being suspended, Funderburk had worked as a paraprofessional, or teacher’s aide, at Sugar Hill Elementary School since March 2006.

According to a press release from the school system, Funderburk was suspended on Thursday after Sugar Hill principal Raymond Akridge received a phone call from a parent notifying them of Funderburk’s arrest.

On April 8, Pendergrass police officers executed a search warrant at Funderburk’s residence, where they found thousands of dollars in stolen property.

"This was quite a lucrative theft ring," said Ivan Spindola, a criminal investigator with the Pendergrass Police Department. "When we searched the (Funderburk) residence we found around $12,000 in stolen Walmart merchandise, marijuana, methamphetamines and several scales."

Spindola said the merchandise had been stolen from several different stores and was being sold on eBay.

The Funderburk case originated in Banks and Rabun counties and involves at least one other suspect, Spindola says.

"This case involves several different jurisdictions," he said. "(Pendergrass) was called in because the perpetrators lived in our jurisdiction."

Attempts by The Times to reach other agencies who are involved in the case were unsuccessful.

The Hall County school system also is investigating the matter.



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