Crime and Safety

Woman at lunch accused of stealing $1.5 million worth of chicken wings from an Illinois school district

An unusual case of theft was unearthed in an Illinois school district after a lunch lady ran off with an impressive amount of poultry.

Officials at Harvey School District 152, located in suburban Chicago, discovered food service director Vera Liddell apparently stole $1.5 million worth of food, primarily chicken wings.

According to WGN-TVLiddell, 66, has worked for the school district for more than 10 years but began robbing a chicken in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic when the kids were out of school.

Court documents show that although pupils studied remotely, the district still provided takeaway meals for families.

Liddell allegedly ordered food from the neighborhood supplier, Gordon Food Service, and picked up the orders from the neighborhood van.

According to KTV-TVLiddell placed these orders between July 2020 and February 2022 with district funds.

Court records accuse lunch lady the theft of over 11,000 cases of chicken wings.

“Food was never brought to school or distributed to students,” the proposal says.

The theft was discovered by a district business manager who, during an audit, discovered that the catering department was $300,000 over budget.

“On closer inspection, she discovered separate invoices, signed by Liddell, for a huge number of chicken wings that were never served to students because they contain bones,” prosecutors said.

Gordon Food Service employees reportedly became accustomed to Liddell due to “the sheer amount of chicken wings she bought”.

Surveillance footage from the Gordon facility allegedly shows the defendant appearing in a cargo van before the facility was opened.

Superintendent Harvey Lela Bridges, who has only been on the job since last week, hasn’t spoken in detail about the case due to an ongoing investigation, according to WGN.

District Five schools located in a poor part of Cook County, where 80 percent of enrolled students are classified as low-income families.

Liddell is currently being held at the Cook County Jail with a trial date set for Feb. 22.

According to prosecutors, she was charged with theft and continued financial crimes.

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