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A former York County School of Technology employee stole more than $34,000 from adult students' accounts over the past six years, police allege.

Arlene F. Rossbach resigned from the school Jan. 13 after meeting with school officials and admitting to stealing students' money, charging documents state.

She was the school's adult education administrative assistant, according to school records.

"Once we discovered this theft, the employee immediately admitted to it and immediately resigned," said Jon Boyer, the technology school's business administrator.

She was with the school for about 15 years, he said.

Rossbach, 52, of 2428 Brillhart Station Road in York Township, is free on $35,000 unsecured bail, charged with felony counts of theft and receiving stolen property. She was arraigned Thursday by District Judge Scott Laird, who set her preliminary hearing date for April 25, according to court records.

Her home phone number has been disconnected, and it's unclear whether she's retained an attorney.

The allegations: Boyer contacted York Area Regional Police Jan. 19 to alert them to the situation, charging documents state.

He reported that on Jan. 7, a student in the adult-education program came to the front office with a deposit receipt and asked about the status of his account, according to police.

A copy of the deposit receipt was found, but there was no record of the money being applied to the student's account, documents allege. More research determined there were "multiple cases" in which adult-education students' money was stolen, according to documents.

"She was taking small amounts over a lengthy period of time," Boyer said.

The next day, Jan. 8, school officials secured the corresponding receipt books and other related paperwork in a locked storage area, police said.

'Ghost' receipt book: It appears Rossbach used a "ghost" receipt book when students gave her cash, then kept the students' money, according to charging documents.

Just hours after Rossbach resigned, she called a co-worker at the school "and asked him to locate and destroy the receipt books," documents allege. Instead, the man notified school administrators and showed them Rossbach's text messages to him, according to police.

An audit determined money had not been deposited into accounts going back to 2010, documents state, adding Rossbach was responsible for deposits during those years.

Boyer provided police with documentation showing $34,126 was missing, but because the five-year statute of limitations had run out on some of the thefts, Rossbach is officially accused of stealing $32,636, according to charging documents.

"Arlene told (Boyer) she only did it because her house was being foreclosed on and (she) was going to pay it back with her tax return," documents state, but she made that alleged statement before the audit determined how much money had been stolen.

No student losses: York Area Regional Police Sgt. Peter Montgomery said the students involved were all in the adult-education program and needed to put money into accounts to cover costs of continuing testing, such as CDL truck-driver license testing or updated nursing tests.

"Some would pay in cash," he said, and it was that cash Rossbach allegedly stole.

However, none of the adult-education students was out any money because they all were administered the tests they paid for, even if the money they gave Rossbach wasn't deposited, according to both Montgomery and Boyer.

"So no student was out any service that they paid for," Boyer said.

He said there's now more oversight over the fee-collection process.

"This is an unfortunate situation that happened to our school," Boyer said. "We're putting the proper safeguards in place to ensure it doesn't happen again."

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com.

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