Chef arrested after caught stealing checks from restaurant

On Thursday evening August 10th at approximately 5:00 p.m., Historic City News learned that the St Augustine Beach Police were dispatched to Panama Hattie’s Restaurant & Bar to investigate the theft of checks from the manager’s safe.

The owner stated he was made aware of the stolen checks through his accountant who observed nearly $3,400 in checks recently made out to 35-year-old Lucas McKay Edwards; the lead line chef for six (6) years.

The owner told beach police that Edwards has access to the manager’s office and knows the safe’s access password due to his supervisory position.

An internal audit was conducted and verified the eleven (11) checks, made out to Edwards, indicating they were issued for a “loan”. Ten of the checks were cashed in 2017, and one was cashed in 2016. The total amount of all checks is $7,050.

When contacted by the investigating officer, Edwards admitted that he took the pre-written checks from the safe without the owner’s permission on separate dates as he needed them. He also stated that he wrote the checks out to himself and cashed them at a local bank.

Edwards, who resides at 878 Palermo Road in St. Augustine, was arrested for grand theft, uttering a forged instrument, and organized scheme to defraud. He was transported to the St. Johns County Detention Facility without incident.

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