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Maine teacher who won $1 million award faces third theft charge

Nancie Atwell (Contributed){ }

WISCASSET (BDN) -- The founder of an Edgecomb school who in 2015 won a $1 million prize Global Teacher Prize has been charged for a third time with shoplifting, this time allegedly stealing a $28 dog leash from Ames True Value in Wiscasset.

Nancie Atwell, 66, of Southport, received a summons for theft and violating conditions of release on Friday, according to Wiscasset Police Chief Jeffrey Lange.

Security personnel at the store on Route 1 reported to police that while reviewing security camera footage, they saw Atwell take the leash.

Atwood founded the Center for Teaching and Learning in 1990 and has written numerous books about education methods. In March 2015, she traveled to Dubai to accept what is known as the “Nobel Prize of teaching.”

According to the Center for Teaching and Learning’s website, Atwell is currently a writing support teacher.

In April 2016, police said security video showed Atwell take a $14.99 blouse off a hanger at Renys in Damariscotta and put it in her purse before leaving the store, WGME reported at the time.

Damariscotta police said Atwell called to apologize and to say that she had returned an item as well, but employees said that was not the case.

In June 2016, Atwell pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft.

Under terms of a plea agreement, Atwell was required to commit no further crimes for two years, undergo a psychological evaluation, complete 100 hours of community service and prove that she is donating the $1 million prize money to the Center for Teaching and Learning. Had that happened, the charge would have been dismissed in June 2018.

Atwell was also charged with theft stemming from a 2014 incident at Bliss Boutique on Exchange Street in Portland. Police said they identified Atwell following widespread publicity of the 2016 charge.

The outcome of that case was not immediately available on Tuesday.

Lange said Tuesday that the Wiscasset case remains under investigation and additional charges may be filed.

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