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Former Nutley Schools Employee Faces Additional Charges

Police say found two more computers that were pawned that were allegedly stolen by former school employee Michael Ritacco and believe more may be missing.

A former Nutley school district employee has been charged with two additional thefts after police found a monitor and iMac laptop that were also missing from the school district.

Michael Ritacco of Lyndhurst was originally charged with 10 counts of theft of moveable property, with the first computers valued at more than $1,000 each and the total loss to the town and school district could surpass $30,000, according to Det. Anthony Montaneri.

Ritacco, who was working at the school district since 2011, was first arrested on June 28 and now faces additional charges stemming from the July 11 recovery of the two additional pieces of computer equipment.

Superintendent of Schools Russell Lazovick said Tuesday night that district employees are taking inventory to determine exactly how many computers are missing, and are asking teachers to return computers loaned for the summer to get a more accurate accounting. 

“There may be more periodic checks,” Lazovick said, instead once a year, because of the crimes. 

Montaneri said detectives believe that there could be 30 or more computers missing and are working with the Board of Education Information and Technology Division to identify and research records.

The investigation into the thefts led Kearny Police to investigate into a pawn broker in Kearny who may have been altering serial numbers to hide the police from finding fenced stolen items, including computers, Montaneri said.

Another anonymous tip led to the new charges, he said.

Police Chief John Holland said that detectives and school officials continue to investigate, and are looking to identify all the items stolen, and are also looking at the possibility that Ritacco had help with the thefts and that further arrests could be forthcoming.

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