DEL CITY, Okla. - An arrest warrant has been issued for a former school contractor suspected of breaking in and stealing school band instruments valued in the thousands.
Patrick Sean Hicks, 36, is wanted on for second-degree burglary and false declaration to a pawn broker. He is accused of trying to gain access to Del Crest Middle School in the early morning hours of January 4 with a contractor key card issued by the heating and air conditioning company contracted to do work at the school.
Police said Hicks then proceeded to cut a hole through the side of the band building to steal a number of musical instruments.
"There were several instruments stolen. I think the dollar amount totaled around $20,000 of musical instruments that were taken," said Del City Police Capt. Bradley Rule. "Not only a loss from a school, but a lot of the instruments that were taken were privately owned by the band teacher so he lost personal property, in addition to the property the school lost."
According to an arrest warrant affidavit filed Monday in Oklahoma County District Court, police discovered a stolen clarinet was pawned by Hicks on February 23 at a metro store, claiming he owned the clarinet for six years. Investigators also spoke to the owner of the HVAC company contracted to do work at the school, who said Hicks had resigned from his position and never turned in his badge.
It's alleged Hicks tried to get into the school shortly after 2 a.m. with his contractor badge and cut a hole in the aluminum siding of the band building to gain access to the instruments. Mid-Del Schools was out on winter break at the time.
Later that morning, police said parents and children who went to go sledding on the hill behind the school discovered a number of instruments lying in the freshly fallen snow, suspected of being too heavy to carry.
"He left some of the instruments outside in the back of the property," Rule said. "Some people had gone out there to take their kids sledding and noticed these instruments and called the police, which is where we found the burglary."
Hicks, who also has an active warrant on a 2007 car theft case, has not yet been arrested.
After the theft, Del Crest band parent Ashley Scarberry knew something needed to be done for her kids' band teacher, Sean Johnson.
"It was so — it was very emotional for all the kids, they just couldn’t believe it," said Scarberry, who started a GoFundMe page to help recoup the losses of Johnson's personal musical instruments in the theft. "As someone who's been so affected by his teaching and watching my kids grow, I just felt like I had to do something."
As of Monday, more than $1,400 has been raised of the $20,000 goal. However, private donations have also flooded in, including a $1,000 from the Oklahoma Educators Credit Union, as well as an anonymous $10,000 gift.
"I just couldn't believe how much help people want to give and want to help us," Scarberry said. "I just really appreciate anyone and everyone who donated who helped us to help him."