School reacts to math teacher's robbery arrest

Mark Gurniak II

For students and co-workers of Mark Gurniak the news of his arrest in connection with the armed robbery of the Chase Bank in Minoa was shocking enough, but now it appears that was not his first brush with the law. Action News has learned that Gurniak has had at least two previous incidents in recent years including a traffic related case in the city of Syracuse and charges in Clay earlier this year.

"In March of 2009 we do know there was another arrest and this time again it has to do with license plates and we have been monitoring that very carefully since the action in March, says North Syracuse School Superintendent Jerry Melvin. In that incident, police say Gurniak was driving an unregistered, uninsured car that had stolen license plates on it. He was charged with criminal possession of stolen property.

Manlius Police say they were led to Gurniak by leads and investigative work done in conjunction with the FBI. After taking Gurniak into custody on Friday and speaking with him, police said they recovered the money and the weapon they say was used in the robbery.

"In this case, unfortunately, it did lead to the arrest of a school teacher but these kinds of things never really surprise us, says Captain Bill Bleyle. All kinds of people commit crime, we just gather the facts and put the cases together and go where it leads us.

Gurniak is suspended with pay until the school district and the police finish their investigations. Superintendent Jerome Melvin says educational policy and law do not allow them to take any disciplinary action until those investigations are complete. "It's a very unique situation and very sad and very tragic and very much a surprise to all of us, says Melvin.

There were counselors at Cicero-North Syracuse High School Monday, and a replacement math teacher has been found.

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