Report Card

News and discussion on K-12 schools in the greater Sacramento region

October 18, 2012
Fourth grade teacher nabs alleged tip jar thief

By Diana Lambert

Coach Todd Shadbourne was running with his soccer team in Elk Grove Monday evening when he saw two teenagers on bicycles being chased by people in green smocks.

The Starbucks employees were yelling for the bicyclists to stop.

Shadbourne let the first bicyclist whiz past, but jumped in front of the second teen, grabbed him by the belt loop and wrested him from his bike.

"Obviously, something wasn't right," said Shadbourne, who teaches fourth grade at Foulk's Ranch Elementary.

He was right. The two teens had just rode through the drive-thru of Starbucks at Elk Grove-Florin and Bond roads and snatched the tip jar from the window, according the Elk Grove Police Department.

Their bounty: $10 in bills and change.

Shadbourne pinned the 15-year-old against the wall with the help of one of the Starbuck's employees and held him for police.

The boy was arrested on suspicion of theft and conspiracy and was released to his grandmother, according to reports.

But he may have learned a lesson while pinned to the wall. "I went into this speech about how he was screwing up my neighborhood," said Shadbourne. "I gave him the speech I would give my kids."

Shadbourne said he didn't hang around once the cops arrived. He was eager to get back to the FC Elk Grove Power, made up of 15-year-old girls, who had returned to the park to practice.

"They said, 'We are going to get our coach a cape,' " he said.

But Shadbourne plays down any suggestion he is a hero, instead worrying about what could have gone wrong. He calls his decision to get involved instinctual and said it was his years of training as a runner that allowed him to catch the culprit.

"I'm a fourth-grade teacher," he said. "I'm not a very tough guy. It was exciting and in the end it worked out because the bad guy got caught. At the end of the day I am a school teacher," he said.

Call The Bee's Diana Lambert, (916) 321-1090. Read her Report Card blog at

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About Report Card

Loretta KalbLoretta Kalb started her reporting career at The Sacramento Union, moved to KOVR-13 as a television reporter, editor and producer, headed to The Associated Press in San Francisco and eventually returned to Sacramento and joined The Sacramento Bee. Throughout her career, she has covered the state Legislature, courts, local government and, now, education. She is a Chico native and an Elk Grove resident.

Diana LambertDiana Lambert began her journalism career as a proofreader at the Lodi News-Sentinel. She is now a senior writer at The Sacramento Bee covering K-12 education and California State University, Sacramento. Previously she was The Bee’s Elk Grove bureau chief. Lambert was raised in a military family and lived at bases around the globe. She attended four high schools, graduating from Tokay High in Lodi and then Sacramento State University. She lives in Elk Grove.

(916) 321-1073
Twitter: @LorettaSacBee
(916) 321-1090
Twitter: @dianalambert

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