CLEARFIELD – A Kylertown woman accused of stealing over $6,7000 from her employer was in court on Monday to plead guilty.
Tara Lyn Patel, 31, is charged with felony theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property as well as misdemeanor theft for allegedly taking the money from McDonald’s in Clearfield where she was the manager.
First Assistant District Attorney Leanne Nedza told President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman that Patel has made two payments totaling $1,000 toward the restitution and was pleading guilty to one misdemeanor count of theft.
Ammerman called the plea “significantly inadequate” and rejected it saying he was not happy with the amount of restitution either.
Ammerman suggested Patel, who was unrepresented in court, get an attorney.
The case will be added to the trial list.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, the investigation began after an official from McDonald’s contacted police on Sept. 22, 2022.
Patel, the manager, was suspected of taking money from the cash drawer, stealing deposits and taking money from the safe. There were numerous deposits that were never made including one from Aug. 27 that totaled $2,847.
Later that deposit was turned in, but it was still missing $100. Another on Aug. 31, which was $3,390, was also never deposited.
On Sept. 19, while Patel was off work sick, she allegedly went into the restaurant, wearing street cloths and slippers and took two deposits from Sept. 17, one worth $1,685.61 and the other $1,214.
She also reportedly took $320 from the safe, “making it appear as if she was going to complete the deposits at the bank.”
That money never made it to the bank.
The total amount missing is $6,709.61, according to the criminal complaint.
Police were given surveillance footage of the thefts and receipts, verifying the amount.
Patel quit via text saying “she was still sick and felt it was too much to work.”
While looking through police records, an officer discovered that Patel was a suspect in a similar case for stealing deposits totaling $5,922.26 from another restaurant, which decided to fire her instead of pressing charges.
In her interviews with police, she “initially lied, advising that she did not take any money, attempting to show this officer receipts, which were for none of the dates of thefts.”
She also provided the officer with a deposit book and numerous deposit slips, but the receipts for the deposits in question were missing.
“She continued to get caught in lies and her story did not make sense.”
At one point, she claimed there were other people in her car when she was making the deposits and one of them could have taken the money, “but could not tell me who was inside her vehicle or why they would be there.”
She admitted to taking money from the cash drawers, then said it was money over what was expected to be in the drawer and then that money was put in the safe.
“After almost an hour of interviewing, the defendant’s story changed numerous times, did not make sense and the defendant could not keep track of the correct dates or amounts she was attempting to lie about.”
Eventually she admitted to taking the money to give to her brother to “bail him out from a drug supplier.”
She reportedly confessed to taking $6,200 in total but was unsure of the exact amount.