Waitress Admits Stealing Tips

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PERKINS TOWNSHIP, Ohio-Check your receipts if you paid with plastic at a local restaurant!

That's the advice being given by police in Perkins Township near Sandusky after a waitress was caught red handed stealing from customers.

Kelli Jean Sharpe, 25, was arrested Monday and charged with misdemeanor theft, misuse of a credit card and felony forgery.

Police say Sharpe committed the crimes while working as a waitress at Chili's Restaurant at 5200 Milan Rd.

"When people would pay for their meals, if they used a credit or debit card, she would swipe the card, give them the receipt and they'd put a gratuity amount," said Lt. Ed Hastings. "They would leave, and she would then change the gratuity amount two to three bucks at a time."

So far, investigators have identified 64 receipts that had the numbers changed.

Police say Sharpe stole a total of $210.

They say the dollar amounts were always low so that customers would not notice, but one man did, and reported it to Chili's managers.

They called in a corporate undercover investigator from Indiana who then dined in Sharpe's section.

Police say, when he got his bank statement, three dollars had been added to the bill. Sharpe was immediately arrested and booked into the Erie County Jail.

She has since been released on five-thousand dollars bond.

Sharpe could have faced 64 counts of forgery for each receipt that was tampered with, but police say she has been cooperating fully and confessed to the crimes.

"She's having problems paying her bills, so she thought that couple dollars would help make her utility bills," said Lt. Hastings.

In addition, none of the receipts have customer names printed on them, so it would be very difficult to track down all of the victims.

"New legislation passed so when they swipe a card you can't read the person's name on the transaction, so we lumped them into one charge," said Lt. Hastings.

Police are encouraging everyone who dined at the Chili's between Sept. 23rd and Dec. 12th to check their receipts and bank statements.

If they notice a discrepancy, they should call both the police and Chili's.