NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. - A New Smyrna Beach High School gym teacher, who's also a football coach, was arrested and is accused of stealing money from students' gym lockers.
Deputies said they arrested Rodney Barnes, a physical education teacher and the assistant varsity football coach, on Monday at New Smyrna Beach High School.
The investigation began in late April when students at the high school reported cash missing from their wallets in the boys' locker room. Deputies said nine students were believed to have lost a total of almost $1,000.
"I think it's a pretty disgusting thing," New Smryna Beach resident Mari Reed said.
Unable to put cameras in the locker room, Volusia County deputies decided to put decoy money in a student's wallet that was covered with an invisible, ultraviolet powder.
The decoy money was taken on Monday, authorities said. The same day, deputies said they used an ultraviolet light to check the hands of students and faculty. According to investigators, the 43-year-old Barnes had the powder on his hands when authorities checked him.
"I think that’s wrong that you’d steal from student, because they trust you. You’re their coach. They expect to be able to put things in their locker and not be stolen from their coach," said student Kylie Fettes.
The student who helped with the sting emailed Channel 9 saying, "I don't have any further comments on the subject. I just wanted to do what was right."
Authorities said the coach admitted to stealing $170 from the gym lockers, but investigators said much more money has been reported missing.
Barnes was booked into the Volusia County Jail on a $3,000 bond, and charged with burglary and grand theft. He bonded out of jail late Tuesday night.
Channel 9 has learned Barnes will not fight for his job and has already submitted a letter of resignation. The school board will vote on May 27 as to whether they'll accept the resignation.
It will be up to the state Board of Education to decide whether Barnes will lose his teaching certificate.
Deputies said they continue to investigate the case.