ST. CLOUD, Fla. - The principal of St. Cloud High School was arrested after being allegedly caught on camera keying someone's car in a Publix parking lot.
Nathaniel Fancher was arrested on a charge of criminal mischief.
According to a charging affidavit, on Jan. 26, police were called to the Publix at 4401 13th Street in St. Cloud and spoke to the victim who said their car had been keyed while they were inside the store. The manager provided a security video that reportedly showed the suspect damaging the car.
"They returned to their car to find that a deep grove had been etched into the side of their vehicle, nearly the full span of the vehicle," said Andrew Sullivan with the St. Cloud Police Department.
According to the arrest report, in the video, you can see the 48-year-old principal, who is wearing a black jacket and tan pants. Investigators said he switched his grocery bag from his left to right hand. As he walks past the passenger side of a black Toyota Forerunner, his left arm is seen dragging behind his body, they said, and that's when police said he "appears" to have keyed the vehicle.
"We haven’t received word of a possible motive," Sullivan added.
Police said they were able to track security video back into the store and identified Fancher as the suspect.
St. Cloud police spoke with Fancher over the phone and said they needed to speak with him about what happened at Publix a few days prior, to which Fancher reportedly asked: "Is this about the car?" When they said yes, Fancher reportedly asked if he was under arrest.
Fancher then explained he was in New York and would be back in town on Jan. 31.
The charging affidavit goes on to say that on Jan. 31, Fancher contacted the police and asked if there was a way to contact the victim and pay for the damage. He also reportedly asked if he could avoid being arrested or having a mugshot taken. The damage to the victim's vehicle was around $3,700.
"It doesn’t matter your status, job title, if you commit a crime in the city of St. Cloud, you will be held accountable," Sullivan said.
Fancher reportedly contacted the school resource officer at St. Cloud High School where he is the principal and admitted to keying the car, then asked, "How much trouble am I in?" Police then met with Fancher and after being interviewed, he was arrested.
The school district said a message was sent out to parents informing them about this arrest and adding that until the police investigation is over, Fancher will be on administrative leave. Many St. Cloud residents with whom we spoke expressed surprise but described Fancher as a good principal who made a mistake.
"He’s been a blessing to that school. Both my grandchildren go there, and they’ve excelled with him," said Angela White. "Anytime I had a problem he was right there for us. He’s a great man. Just did something dumb."
We reached out to Fancher for comment and are waiting to hear back.