Springdale restaurant manager arrested after $83K in cash never makes it to bank

2018 file photo of a Springdale Police vehicle, Springdale, Utah, Dec. 9, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Springdale-Zion Canyon Department of Public Safety, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A Hurricane man is in jail facing nearly 20 theft charges following an investigation that was prompted when the owner of a Springdale restaurant called police when more than $80,000 in deposits were discovered missing.

File photo of an aerial view of Springdale, Utah, date not specified | Photo by Lochner engineering firm and courtesy of the Zion Regional Collaborative, St. George News

The suspect, identified as 32-year-old Max Perkins Stern, is in jail facing 19 counts of theft, 15 of which are third-degree felony offenses while the remaining five counts are misdemeanors, according to a report filed in support of the arrest.

The arrest stems from an investigation that began a week ago when officers were dispatched to a restaurant in Springdale to follow-up on a report involving a manager who was allegedly stealing cash deposits from the business.

Officers learned through the course of the investigation that Stern had allegedly failed to follow the closing procedures established by management, and instead of depositing the funds in the bank, the supervisor reported that he kept the cash.

The suspect completed the sales report showing the total sales and cash received each day, records that were maintained at the business. But when those reports were compared to bank records, it became clear the funds were never actually deposited, police say.

Since February, the report states, there were 54 deposits that were recorded in the business records but never completed – each of which reportedly took place during the suspect’s shifts.

Video surveillance obtained by police also showed the suspect leaving the restaurant with the deposit after each of his shift, including the 54 shifts in question.

In all, more than $83,000 in cash was allegedly taken by the suspect.

Springdale Police Officer and department spokesperson, Britt Ballard, told St. George News the report triggered an extensive investigation that detectives have worked tirelessly on for days, efforts that included undercover surveillance operations, multiple requests for search warrants and records subpoenas.

“And it’s not over yet,” Ballard said.

Two of those search warrants were executed on the suspect’s home and vehicle, during which officers recovered a significant number of small bills that were seized by authorities.

The officer also noted that Stern has strong ties to his relatives out of state and potentially has a large amount of cash at his disposal.

“With him not having ties to the area and possibly being in possession of over $83,000,” the officer noted, “There is a high likelihood he would flee.”

The report also states detectives have reason to believe a significant amount of the cash has been stored away. The case is still open and the investigation is ongoing at this time.

The charges have been submitted to the Washington County Attorney’s Office for review.

Ed. Note: A new Utah law generally prohibits the release of arrest booking photos until after a conviction is obtained. 

This report is based on statements from court records, police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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