Volusia County coach and teacher charged with stealing from student lockers
By Keith Landry, Reporter -
NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -
The assistant coach of the New Smyrna Beach High School varsity football team has been charged with grand theft and burglary after detectives said he stole money from his student athletes.
Rodney Barnes, 43, is also a physical education teacher at the high school. News of his arrest left parents and football players disappointed.
“You would think that with the way the school system is, that that wouldn’t happen, but teachers and coaches are still people just like everyone else," said parent Tony Circelli. "Not everyone is honest."
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said money had been vanishing from student's wallets in the locker room recently. Detectives used stealthy technology to try to solve this mystery during a sting called "Operation Sticky Fingers."
They took decoy money, put luminescent powder on it, and put it in a wallet. The powder is invisible, until you place it under an ultra violet light. When detectives realized the money was stolen from a locker, they started checking hands.
Students placed their hands under the light but none of their hands glowed. Investigators said when they checked Barnes, both of his hands were glowing green.
Detectives said nine students are missing a total of $950. They said Barnes admitted to several thefts totaling $170.
Barnes was booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach on $3,000 bond.