Coach: I'm sorry for stealing from school district

by: Joanna Small Updated:

BUCKLEY, Wash. —

A high school basketball coach charged with stealing thousands of dollars from the district he worked for told KIRO 7 he's sorry.  Victor Robbins appeared in a Pierce County court today on first degree felony theft charges.
  
In the close-knit community of Buckley, it hurt when news broke about the beloved girls high school basketball coach and after school program director.
 
"He was a great coach.  He was super nice and really great and helped me a lot, helped the program a lot,” said White River High School senior Ashlea Mills.

Police say for four years until last February, Robbins pocketed cash fees from the White River after school care and rec program he ran out of this office.  They also say he let his own children attend for free—and that's what another employee noticed.  The district ordered an audit that found more than $25,000 missing; Robbins admitted he took it, and he resigned last spring.
 
The superintendent told us this issue is far too sensitive to talk on camera about.  She said from the district's side of things in this case is closed, but she said the district has learned a tough lesson.
 
"We see these types of crimes but usually more often in the context of charity organizations or volunteer groups that don't have effective accounting in place,” explained Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. 

The superintendent said now there is effective accounting in place.
  
Robbins is paying back what police say he took-- he's halfway there.  We went to his house; he didn't want to do an interview or explain why he took the money, but he told us he wants to say sorry to kids like Ashlea.
 
"It's kind of weird not having him there.  Over summer we play summer ball and it was kind of strange not having him there helping us out,” Ashlea concluded.
 
The prosecutor says Robbins could face up to 10 years in jail if convicted, but because the crime is not violent, he'll likely just  have to pay the restitution.