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Posted on Thu, Mar. 18, 2010


Police: Catholic school principal stole designer shades
By Barbara Boyer and Susan Snyder

INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS

The principal of Christ the King Regional School in Haddonfield who was placed on unpaid administrative leave this week allegedly stole two pairs of designer sunglasses while impersonating an FBI agent, police said.

Cherry Hill police Lt. William Kushina said Claudio Cerullo, 40, of Aston, Delaware County, asked for a $291.50 credit for a pair of new sunglasses on Feb. 22 at a Cherry Hill Mall store, but returned an old pair of Prada sunglasses instead.

When the clerk asked for identification, Cerullo allegedly flashed a law enforcement ID and led the clerk to believe he worked for the FBI, Kushina said. He then browsed for new shades as the clerk processed the credit.

Kushina said Cerullo allegedly pocketed a pair of Giorgio Armani sunglasses, which the clerk noticed were missing after Cerullo left. The clerk inspected the returned glasses and realized they were an old pair. Cerullo was charged Tuesday and surrendered to Cherry Hill police.

On Wednesday, Camden Diocese officials suspended Cerullo, who started at the school in September, said Andrew Walton, a spokesman for the Camden Diocese.

Cerullo "asserted his innocence" to a number of people at the school before taking his belongings and leaving, Walton said.

Staff and parents were shocked upon learning of the allegations, detailed in letters from the diocese to staff and parents yesterday. Cerullo, it said, had been charged with one count of theft, one count of theft by deception, and one count of impersonating an FBI agent.

"I ask that you pray for our entire parish and school community at this difficult time," said the letter from Msgr. William P. Brennan.

The Italian-born Cerullo has more than 17 years of experience in education and has held various administrative posts, as well as serving as president of the Easton Area School Board, his online biography said. He also worked at West Chester University and the Delaware Mentoring Council at the University of Delaware