TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - A Leon County School Board employee has been arrested, accused of helping a friend steal a trailer and three mowers from the LCS Grounds and Maintenance facility.
Billy R. Paige II, 35, of Tallahassee had access to the property as a five-year employee in the school system's maintenance shop.
He left the property unsecured so that Steven L. Hill could steal it, a Tallahassee Police Department investigator wrote in a probable cause affidavit. Paige, arrested last Friday, demanded a jury trial, his public defender said.
Paige told investigators he received a phone call from a co-worker telling him not to come in to work on Sept. 7 and to prepare for Hurricane Irma to make landfall.
Paige told investigators that he told Hill he and co-workers left property unsecured at the grounds and maintenance facility. He admitted that he also gave Hill the address of the Leon County Schools Grounds and Maintenance facility with the knowledge that he was coming to steal the Toro mowers and trailer.
When an investigator interviewed him, Paige said he used to work for Hill and knows Hill steals lawn equipment to use for his lawn maintenance business. Paige said he has known Hill since Paige was in his early 20's and the two men are good friends.
The theft of the school system's property was captured on surveillance video. Investigators were able to see on the video a dark-colored truck and a large white truck towing the stolen trailer at 12:19 a.m. on Sept. 9.
Each stolen Toro zero turn mower was bought by Leon County Schools for $14,000 each, and the Triple Crown trailer cost $9,000. The total value of the items was around $50,000.
Paige was charged as an accessory to the burglary and an accessory to grand theft more than $20,000.
Hill confessed to the burglary of the school system's property, according to the probable cause document, and in fact said he interrupted another person trying to break into the maintenance facility.
Hill's case is being handled by the Escambia County Sheriff's Office.
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