Penn fitness center director fired over theft charges

Posted: July 05, 2014

The director of the University of Pennsylvania's campus fitness center was fired after being charged with stealing cash and items from the lost-and-found area.

Amy M. Wagner's departure in May became public Thursday in an article on the website of the student newspaper, the Daily Pennsylvanian.

The affidavit of probable cause filed May 8 in Philadelphia Municipal Court accuses Wagner of the theft of an unspecified amount of cash "entrusted to her as a university employee," and unspecified items from the lost-and-found.

What the court records do not include are allegations in the Daily Pennsylvanian's article that Wagner stole treadmills and other exercise equipment, and resold them on eBay.

In interviews Thursday, Wagner's attorney and two prosecutors in the District Attorney's Office said they knew nothing about a theft and resale of exercise equipment.

The article on the Daily Pennsylvanian website attributed the information about stolen and resold equipment to a "tip" from a "university staff member who wishes to remain anonymous."

Responding by e-mail, Daily Pennsylvanian managing editor Amanda Suarez said that after contacting the editors who handled the story, "I have no additional information I can offer than what is in the article already."

Wagner, 45, of Manayunk, has a master's degree in exercise physiology from Temple University. She was director of recreation at Penn's Pottruck Health and Fitness Center, a four-story, 120,000-square-foot facility in the 3700 block of Walnut Street, from 2007 until her arrest.

She faces 24 counts charging her with theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception, receiving stolen property, theft by failing to make required disposition of funds, forgery, and records tampering. The latter two counts involve falsifying entries in a log book to conceal the stolen cash and items, according to the court file.

Wagner remains free without having to post bail pending a preliminary hearing to determine whether she will face trial.

Defense attorney Mariana Rossman said, "We have been in touch with the District Attorney's Office and are working toward a resolution of this case that is just to all parties."

Because Wagner has not yet had a preliminary hearing, Rossman said, she has not received details about the items allegedly stolen or their value.

Assistant District Attorney Jan McDermott, chief of the office's Southwest Bureau, said that she and Rossman have discussed a pretrial diversion program for first offenders, but that Wagner may not qualify because the loss must be less than $2,000. McDermott said the current loss estimate was $10,000.

Rossman, McDermott, and Assistant District Attorney Brian Burke, who was assigned the Wagner case, said they had not heard of any allegations of the theft and resale of treadmills and larger pieces of exercise equipment.

215-854-2985 @joeslobo


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