A former employee burglarized a downtown LaFayette restaurant early Wednesday morning, police said.
One-Eleven Restaurant, on LaFayette’s historic square, was closed Wednesday due to the break-in.
According to LaFayette Police Department reports:
Casey Darling, 20, broke into the upscale eatery, where he had previously worked as a barista until this April, according to restaurant owner Michael Lovelady.
He broke into the restaurant through a rear door to the building, sometime between midnight Tuesday and 1 a.m. Wednesday, said public safety director Benji Clift said.
Darling apparently tried to conceal his identity from a video security system in the restaurant.
He stole between $21 and $27 in rolls of change from an antique cash register.
Darling took the other cash register, a high-tech one, with him, and it has not been found. The touchscreen cash register and damaged equipment totaled about $20,000, according to Lovelady.
An anonymous tip helped solve the case, Clift said.
Darling was arrested at 11:45 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 19, at the Morgan Motel in LaFayette, where he was staying. He was found with the change in his possession.
He has been charged with felony burglary and an additional felony for financial transaction card theft for stealing credit cards belonging to the restaurant.
Darling also emptied two fundraiser jars for local youths, Brandon Lowe and Paige Roberts. The amount stolen is estimated at $100, according to Lovelady.
Managers of the restaurant have reconnected the surveillance system and given the video evidence to authorities. The touchscreen cash register has not been recovered.
The time-lapse video initially seemed to show the possibility that two people had entered the business.
LaFayette police interviewed an additional suspect, but no connection or admission was made, according to Clift.
Authorities looked at the video further and authenticated that only one person broke into the restaurant.
The physical evidence collected in the case will be processed for fingerprints.
The employees have missed out on two days of wages and the store has lost several thousands of dollars in revenue due to the theft.
Lovelady hopes to reopen to serve lunch on Friday. He said he remains disappointed in Darling and that a negative incident has drawn attention to the city that he is trying to revitalize with several commercial development projects.