Restaurant Server Arrested for Changing Tips to Steal $4,500+

A 28-year-old Tavernier woman was arrested Tuesday, October 23, for stealing more than $4,500 from an Upper Keys restaurant where she had been employed for more than four years.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office investigation began in May when managers at Snappers restaurant in Key Largo contacted the Sheriff’s Office and reported they were doing routine bookkeeping for the business the month prior when they noticed irregularities in one of their employee’s tip reports.

One night, Emily Slayton Bullard made about $300 in tips for $600 in sales or about 50 percent when servers generally make 15 percent to 18 percent. According to reports, Detective Ian Barnett investigated and found that Bullard was voiding items on a check, classifying them as a kitchen error, food waste, “86” (ran out of item), testing, or some other similar designation, but still served the items to the customer. Bullard would not lower the customer bill, but applied the voided amount to her charge tip.

Of the receipts documented, it was estimated that an average of $25 extra was added per meal and collected by Bullard.

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Bullard worked at the restaurant seasonally from beginning October 2013 through 2015 and full-time from 2016 to April 2018, when she was fired for suspicion of theft from the business. According to reports, Bullard denied taking any money from them.

Managers at the business told the Sheriff’s Office that Bullard was a former manager and knew the computer and sales systems well.

The investigation continued as Detective Barnett, with counsel from the State Attorney’s Office and further help from the business managers, combed over myriad transactions performed by Bullard. It was determined that Bullard stole $4,629.80 from the restaurant over a nine-month period from July 2017 to April 2018.

When questioned by investigators, Bullard could not explain the discrepancies but offered that she may have made mistakes because she was bad at math and numbers. She asked if she needed to pay the owner back for the money and suggested some sort of a payment plan to resolve the matter.

A warrant was obtained on Monday, and Bullard was arrested on Tuesday. She was charged with grand theft and fraud and her bond was set at $20,000.

Note: The information in this crime report is provided by area law enforcement. Please remember that all suspects are innocent until proven guilty.

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