A waitress and a manager have been arrested in unrelated theft investigations involving two restaurants, both on Lake June Road in Lake Placid . The arrests were made by the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office.
Charged with scheme to defraud was Christina Dawn Wood of 916 Amaranth Ave., Lake Placid. She was a waitress at Jaxson’s Restaurant and Lounge. Dock 633 manager Benjamin Michael Rose of 1544 Camillia Court, Lake Placid, was charged with second-degree grand theft and scheme to defraud.
Wood is accused of taking almost $1,300 from Jaxson’s. Investigators said she entered bogus transactions resulting in her getting a relatively large amount of cash, mostly from inflated tips, at the end of the shift.
She would use one of her own three debit cards to enter a transaction that might include a glass of beer from $1.45. The report said she would then add a tip ranging from $70 to $100. Confronted by investigators, Wood admitted she was aware of a computer glitch that delayed the transaction reaching the credit card company. The restaurant’s management did not learn of the phony sales for months, the report said.
The HCSO investigation discovered 27 suspicious transactions made by Wood during a several-month period.
Jaxson’s discovered the loss after the system eventually declined the debit cards because of insufficient funds, the report said. By then, Wood had already received the tips included in the charges to the debit cards, the report said.
Rose stands accused of stealing nearly $30,000 from Dock 633 in 13-months while he was a manager at the Lake June Road restaurant. A report said Rose admitted stealing liquor, telling an investigator he “should be making at least $20,000 more per year for the job he does,” the report said.
Rose denied stealing money, “other than occasionally taking $50 to $100, but returning it later,” the report said.
The report said investigators determined that after a server would leave for the day, Rose would reopen tickets for meals and either void the transactions or discount them, creating the appearance of extra money in the cash register, based on those altered tickets. Rose would then take that supposed surplus money from the cash register, according to investigators.
A computerized cash register system at Dock 633 assigns a unique number to each transaction, investigators said. That created the trail that identified Rose as the culprit and cleared three other shift managers because the bogus transactions only sprang up when Rose worked.