Hours after posting bail for charges related to stealing money from students, New Smyrna Beach High School football coach, Rodney Barnes has resigned, school officials say.
Barnes, 43, submitted a letter of resignation Wednesday morning during meeting with the Volusia County Public Schools’ Professional Standards office, said school district spokeswoma Nancy Wait.
After a sneaking suspicion that a series of thefts in the boy’s locker room at New Smyrna Beach High School was an inside job, school officials took tracking down a culprit into their own hands.
By April 25, nine students had already reported that about $950 had been stolen from their lockers so Operation Sticky Fingers was launched.
With the help of school resource officers and a student, school administrators purchased an ultraviolet theft detection kit with included a luminescent powder to coat decoy cash.
Officials dusted $141 in cash with the powder, which is invisible except under a black light, then slipped the money along with a teenager’s school ID and other items into a wallet and tucked the booby-trapped loot inside a locker.
Then they waited for someone to take the bait.
When some of the money finally went missing on Monday, Volusia County deputies used the ultraviolet light to check the hands of all the students who had access to the locker room that day.
They were all cleared so deputies moved on to the coaching staff and finally found Barnes, a physical education teacher and assistant varsity football coach with his hands aglow with the telltale powder, deputies said.
As in the previous thefts, only a portion of the money was taken from the decoy wallet.
Barnes admitted to thefts worth about $170 but deputies say he will likely be linked to even more missing cash.
He was booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail on $3,000 bail. He faces charges of grand theft and burglary.
The school board will forward information about his arrest and resignation to the Florida Department of Education who will decide if Barnes will still be able to use his teaching certificate to find work at another school.