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Charter school founder arrested, accused of stealing from school

Mario Ybarra
Mario Ybarra speaking to News 11 in September 2019

Arizona Charter School Board responds

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, CBS 13, KECY) - Harvest Preparatory Academy’s founder was arrested for allegedly stealing from the school. 

Yuma Police said officers arrested 56-year-old Mario Ybarra on January 11 on charges of disorderly conduct and theft. Both are misdemeanor charges. 

Officers said the suspect was allegedly seen on video surveillance taking items and acting disorderly. 

YPD said the theft happened on Christmas Day.

Harvest Preparatory Academy explained it happened when school was not in session.

"Harvest Preparatory Academy is aware of an issue related to Dr. Ybarra that occurred outside of school hours and want to reassure the community that we are committed to maintaining a secure, healthful, and welcoming environment at all Harvest Prep campuses," said Deborah Ybarra, executive director and president of Harvest Power Community Development Group, Inc.

News 11 called Ybarra. He said he can not comment during the open investigation.  However, court records show he pled not guilty to the charges on January 14.

The Arizona Charter School Board also weighed in on the investigation. 

"The Board is aware of the incident regarding Harvest Preparatory Academy and understands that the proper authorities are investigating. The Board will continue to monitor and cooperate, as needed,” said Ashley Berg, executive director of the Arizona Charter School Board. 

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Ciara Encinas

Ciara Encinas is an Emmy award-winning multimedia journalist who joined the KYMA in May 2018.

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Brandon Mejia

Brandon Mejia joins the news team as the evening anchor for KSWT. You can catch him weeknight at 6 and 10 p.m.


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