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CONTACT 13: Teacher pleads guilty in wine heist

Posted at 5:00 PM, Jul 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-22 21:06:02-04

A first-grade teacher caught stealing on camera admits she's guilty. 

It's a story you saw only on 13 Action News. 

For the first time, Contact 13 Chief Investigator Darcy Spears found out why the teacher says she did it.

In court records filed on Friday, Heather Ogle calls herself a good person who did something bad while she was drunk.

"There's inevitably someone that's been inebriated that tries to take some bottles of wine, but never anything like this," said Leslie Mead Renaud.

What Heather Ogle did was caught on surveillance cameras at the Bacara resort in Santa Barbara in March. 

Dressed in a distinctive black and white top, Ogle can be seen with cases of wine on a luggage cart at the World of Pinot Noir event.

"I had a couple of people that worked for me that actually saw somebody putting cases of wine on a luggage cart," said Renaud. "They went up and talked to her, asked her what she was doing and she said that it was her wine and she left with it."

Only it wasn't her wine. 

Most of it belonged to World of Pinot Noir President Leslie Mead Renaud.

"The wine that was stolen from me was worth $2,178 plus tax."

That's how much Ogle paid in restitution this morning, after pleading guilty to misdemeanor grand theft. 

She was originally facing a felony, but got the charge reduced. 

Her attorney told the court, "Basically, she loves wine."

But he claims she stopped drinking it and all other alcohol since her theft was made public, adding that she's going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and will also pursue counseling. 

In Ogle's statement to the court she says she "Drank much more wine than she should have" and took "much more than she intended."

She admits packing "up a large number of bottles... in an Uber vehicle." 

But Ogle did not return the wine. Instead, "When she heard about the publicity she poured the wine out."

Heather Ogle has worked at Goolsby elementary for the last 10 years, teaching first and second Grade, as well as special education. 

She says "after this came out... on local television, Ms. Ogle acknowledged her wrongdoing to the school and the parents."

But she has never responded to Contact 13.

As a result of the guilty plea, Ogle won't serve jail time. She will be on probation for three years. 

The School District says because it's summer, she is not currently under contract, and that once they receive official records regarding this case, they'll determine the appropriate action.