Pawnshop Records of Items Stolen From Fairfax School Lead to Security Assistant Who Worked With Students

Antonio Dawson, 39, joined the school in 2004.
Antonio Dawson, 39, joined the school in 2004. (Courtesy Of Fairfax County Police Department - Courtesy Of Fairfax County Police Department)
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By Allison Klein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The items disappearing from Kilmer Middle School in Fairfax County were increasingly strange and also valuable: a carpet cleaner, a Wii, a video camera and even a viola.

Police got a break in the case earlier this month when the items turned up at a pawnshop in Prince William County. A crime analyst reviewing pawnshop records called the Vienna school to ask whether anybody knew someone named Antonio Dawson.

They knew him well. He was the school's safety and security assistant.

"He duped everybody," said Mike Allen, the police officer assigned to the school.

Dawson, 39, had been using his own name to fence the goods, police said.

Dawson, of the 5900 block of Pratt Street in Alexandria, was charged Thursday with larceny with intent to distribute, money laundering and six counts of embezzlement.

Many of the items had been pilfered from the school's lost and found over the past three years, Allen said. Other stolen goods included an iPod, cameras and computer monitors. Police said the investigation is continuing.

Dawson, who has worked at the school since 2004, is now on leave without pay, according to Fairfax schools spokesman Paul Regnier.

Regnier said all school employees are subject to a background check, and "anybody that would be hired would have to have a clean record."

He said Dawson's duties included working with students to make sure they do not smoke, drink alcohol or park illegally at the school. The job also includes "walking the halls and keeping in touch with students," Regnier said.

Apart from the alleged stealing, Allen said, Dawson was good at his job.

"He had a great relationship with the kids," Allen said.

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