McMinnville school secretary stole students’ lunch money cards, police say

FILE(CDC/Amanda Mills via Canva)
Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 11:41 AM CST
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MCMINNVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) – A McMinnville school secretary was arrested last month after detectives found she stole two elementary students’ pandemic food benefit cards to buy groceries.

On Nov. 18, a parent filed a report with the McMinnville Police Department regarding someone fraudulently using her son’s pandemic electronic benefit (PEBT) card. The cards are meant to help families cover the cost of students’ meals during the pandemic. According to police, the parent said her son never received the card, but it was being used.

A McMinnville Police Department detective pulled transaction records and found the card was used 20 times from Jan. 10 to Nov. 15 and more than $700 was spent. Surveillance video showed Ruthann McInnis, a school secretary at Hickory Creek Elementary, had been using the cards, police said.

When confronted, McInnis said she checked the school mail in January and placed two PEBT cards that belonged to two students in her desk drawer, according to police. She reportedly used the cards to buy groceries.

Detectives pulled transaction records for the second student’s card and found McInnis used the card 12 times, totaling nearly $500.

McInnis was charged Nov. 29 with two counts of fraudulently using a credit card.

Director of Warren County Schools Grant Swallows told WSMV 4 McInnis has been suspended while the school investigates.