The search for two missing ballroom dance costumes at Utah Valley State College has turned up at least 10 more pricey gowns, with two more still unaccounted for.
Southern Utah University dance instructor Mark Baker has been charged with a second count of class A misdemeanor theft. Police say they found missing dance costumes in his possession. He already faces one class A misdemeanor theft charge in connection with the alleged theft of another dress.
"Following an extensive inventory this past summer, it was brought to our attention that four costumes were missing from the dance program here," said UVSC spokesman Chris Taylor.
Taylor said that a member of the UVSC dance team later saw one of the missing costumes in an online video production.
The filming of the competition led investigators to Baker.
In the week since the probe into the missing costumes began, police have recovered two paso doble outfits, worth $250 each, as well as eight $100 tango costumes.
Baker was allegedly in possession of the clothing and "has been cooperating with police," Taylor said. Two $5,000 standard ball gowns are still missing.
The costumes will remain in police custody until the investigation is complete.
Taylor said Baker worked at UVSC during the 2005-06 school year as an adjunct dance instructor and coached the reserve, or intermediate, ballroom dance team.
"For whatever reason, it looks like his contract was not renewed," Taylor said.
In August 2006, Baker went to work for SUU, where he became the director of SUU's Ballroom Dance Company. Since being cited by police on Friday, Baker has been suspended from teaching at SUU but is still being paid. Officials there say they are waiting for the outcome to determine whether further disciplinary action should be taken against Baker.
"We want to be sure we're not keeping anyone employed here who legally isn't representing the university in a good way," said William J. Byrnes, dean of SUU's College of Performing Arts. Baker's three courses at SUU, which contain more than 230 students, are being taught by other dance teachers who are filling in.Baker did not return calls from the Deseret Morning News. He is expected to appear in Orem's 4th District Court on Oct. 29.
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