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Students’ lunch money cards stolen by McMinnville school secretary, police say

Last month a McMinnville school secretary was arrested after a police department detective found that she had stolen pandemic food benefit cards from two elementary school students. She then used the cards to buy groceries.

On November 18, 2022, a parent filed a complaint with the McMinnville Police Department after discovering that someone had fraudulently used 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 reported that her son never received the card, but it was being used. Transaction records pulled by a McMinnville police detective showed that the card had been used 20 times and that more than $700 had been spent.

Ruthann McInnis, a school secretary at Hickory Creek Elementary, was shown to be using the cards on surveillance video.

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According to police, the PEBT cards came to the school by mail in January. McInnis placed the two cards in her desk drawer before reportedly using them to purchase groceries.

A second card was used 12 times by McInnis for purchases totaling nearly $500.

McInnis was charged with two counts of fraudulent use of a credit card. According to director of Warren County Schools Grant Swallows, McInnis has been suspended while the school investigates.

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