A teacher at Carson Elementary allegedly stole about $400 while working at a department store in Decatur over the summer.
Stephanie P. Warden, 41, of Decatur was arrested on the afternoon of Aug. 6 for theft between $50 and $500.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Warden stole the money by filing multiple fraudulent cash refund receipts. She would hang on to a receipt from a cash-paying customer, and at a later time would use the receipt to post a fraudulent refund in the computer, and then pocket the cash.
Warden admitted the crime to a prevention loss manager with Bealls, according to court documents.
The theft charge is a Class B misdemeanor. If found guilty, Warden could serve up to 180 days in county jail and/or a $2,000 fine.
Decatur ISD Superintendent Rod Townsend said the district was notified of the arrest, and he’s discussed the issue with attorneys.
He said employees with the district can be dismissed for violating what is considered “moral terpitude,” an unethical or immoral act, which could cover a wide range of crimes, including driving while intoxicated.
Some arrests, such as any kind of a sexual nature, would prompt immediate dismissal from the district, but others aren’t so simple. The arrest has to be disruptive to the classroom or educational environment, Townsend said.
“This was a misdemeanor charge and does not cause disruption to the classroom,” Townsend said. “It probably could cause disruption at the high school level, but not in elementary. The teacher is not handling money. We’re acting under the advice of the attorneys.”
Warden teaches fifth grade math at Carson Elementary in Decatur.
In January, her estranged husband, James Warden, 43, threatened to kill her and others, triggering a lockdown at Carson Elementary and Decatur High School. Mr. Warden then went into a standoff with law enforcement in Bridgeport before eventually giving himself up.
He has since been indicted for aggravated assault against a public servant for allegedly pointing an unloaded rifle at officers and squeezing the trigger during the standoff.