Ex-Arlington cafeteria worker accused of stealing $9,000 from elementary meal accounts

A former Arlington elementary school cafeteria worker is accused of taking about $9,000 from student meal accounts, according to Tarrant County criminal court records and Arlington police.

Alma Julia Rodriguez, 52, of Arlington, was indicted last month on a charge of theft of property $2,500 to $30,000.

“As in every felony case, an indictment alleging wrongdoing is simply an acknowledgment that there is probable cause to believe, based only on the facts presented by the prosecutors, that someone committed a crime,” said Rodriguez’s attorney, Lex Johnston of Fort Worth. “It is not, legally, an indication, in any way, of guilt. We will thoroughly investigate these allegations before commenting on the merits of the case.”

An audit discovered the missing money, and Arlington school officials said the meal accounts have been fully restored at Butler Elementary School.

Rodriguez was charged with theft in May and she has a court hearing scheduled on Sept. 30 in Criminal District Court No. 372.

“That employee was immediately placed on leaving pending the investigation and subsequently terminated,” said Arlington Independent School District spokeswoman Anita Foster in an email.

Arlington police and school officials said the director of food and nutrition completed a routine internal audit in January and discovered about $3,195.57 missing from student accounts from August 2017 to December 2018.

After Rodriguez was charged, school officials completed an audit to back when she started working as a cafeteria employee.

Arlington police said that audit determined that there was more money missing, about $9,000 total.

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