LINDEN, Calif. — A high school sophomore solved a mystery among students by setting up her own sting.
Students at Linden High School in California had noticed items missing from among their things left in the locker room during gym class. Rather than speculate, Justine Betti decided to catch the thief — but the identity of the thief surprised even her.
She hid in a locker one day to see if the culprit would show up. When her gym teacher began going through duffel bags, backpacks and even jeans, she realized the teacher — a 30-year veteran on the job — was the thief.
"I didn't want to believe that she would do something like that because she was so nice, but then she did it," Betti told local station KXTV.
Betti told her classmates what she had seen, but they didn't believe her. She needed proof.
So on Feb. 13, after the students left the locker room, Betti set up a camera in a locker before hiding in another with a camera.
The teacher showed up again, and the footage shows the teacher taking what appears to be cash out of a pink backpack and rifling through jean pants pockets.
"It was really scary. I was like, '‘Oh my gosh. I can't believe I just got this on video,' " Betti said.
Betti showed the footage to some friends and sent it to her dad. Then she took it to the principal's office.
"He said that he'll investigate it and he told us to delete the video, but I had already sent it to my dad," she said.
According to KXTV, the teacher has since been put on administrative leave and the school district is investigating the thefts. The teacher remains unidentified.
"They've been supportive and said that we did the right thing," Betti said. "We feel like we did the right thing, but it's still kind of hard."