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Employee steals nearly $50,000 from dance studio

Posted at 6:25 PM, May 13, 2016
A Pinellas County woman is accused of embezzling nearly $50,000 from her employer, Suncoast Academy of Dance, a popular dance school and studio for children. Cindy Woods, 57, was arrested earlier this week.
 
Deputies say she stole the money between 2011 and 2015. She was either fired or left her job in November last year. 
 
According to arrest records, Woods worked behind the desk where she took payments. She would pocket cash from parents paying for classes and costumes, according to the report.
 
"(I feel) Betrayed, very much betrayed." Valerie Rice, a dance parent said.
 
Rice's daughter has been going to the academy for 14 years. 
 
"It's molded who she is today." She said.
 
She says Woods was like a second mother to many of the girls.
 
"We treated her as if she was family. The girls would give her Christmas presents. And a couple of the girls know where she lives, after she left they went to her home to see if she was okay -- they didn't know what had transpired yet," Rice said.
 
Rice and several other parents we spoke to said they hope the arrest doesn't tarnish the academy or the owner and still plan to have their children attend.hool," said Brown.