A gym teacher at a Volusia County high school has resigned after his arrest for stealing money from students' lockers.
Rodney Barnes, 43, of Ormond Beach, is a gym teacher at New Smyrna Beach High School. He was arrested May 12 and charged with one count of grand theft between $300 and $5,000 and one count of burglary. He was also an assistant football coach at the school.
Barnes bonded out of jail Tuesday night.
The Volusia County Sheriff's Office confirmed Wednesday that Barnes has resigned from the school. The Florida Department of Education will determine if Barnes will lose his teacher certification.
The investigation began a few months ago when a school resource deputy at the school was contacted by students as well as school administration about thefts from inside the boys' locker room.
In each theft, only cash was taken, but some cash and all electronics were left in the lockers, according to a Volusia County Sheriff's Office report.
The suspect, later identified as Barnes, would leave about half the money behind. Students told deputies that their lockers were secured and that their valuables were not visible through the mesh locker doors.
Because the incidents were taking place inside the locker room, cameras couldn't be installed. And so, an administrator at the high school purchased an ultraviolet theft-detection kit. The kit contained a small container of luminescent powder that is invisible until it is under ultraviolet light. That's when the powder turns fluorescent yellow-green.
To locate a suspect, the deputies began Operation: Sticky Fingers. Deputies then had students put a wallet with $141 (two $50 bills, two $20 bills and one $1 bill). Each bill was photocopied and then coated with the UV powder and then placed in the wallet.
The operation was run several times with negative results last month, deputies said.
Deputies tried again on May 9 with negative results. Then on May 12, a student went to check the locker and noticed some of the bills were missing. The student immediately informed deputies, who then kept students in the gym from leaving.
The lights were turned off in the hallway leading from the locker room and students -- two at a time -- had their hands checked. None of the students had the UV powder on their hands.
Once all the students were cleared, deputies then shined the light on the hands of Barnes. The fluorescent yellow-green powder was visible on both hands, according to the report.
Barnes admitted to deputies and school officials that he took one of the $50 bills from the wallet and put it in one of the filing cabinets in the coaches' office. Barnes also admitted to several other thefts.
Barnes told deputies that he would check lockers for any that were unsecured and go through the wallets, looking for cash. He stated he would never take all of the money.
Volusia County Schools issued this statement Tuesday:
"Mr. Barnes has been instructed by administration to not return to the school until he has met with the Professional Standards office and disciplinary action has been determined."
So far, nine students who had money stolen have been identified, for a total of $950.