A 34-year-old Macungie man was arrested Friday after authorities said he stole between $17,000 and more than $26,000 from the Wine and Spirits Store in East Greenville.
Upper Perk Police charged Brian Hughes, of the 5500 block of Spring Ridge Drive, Macungie, with theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception and receiving stolen property in connection with events that allegedly occurred between January 2012 and May 2013, when Hughes was an assistant manager at the store located at 26 E. Fourth St.
According to court records, Hughes was suspended on May 20, 2013 after authorities found a series of suspicious register transactions during his shifts.
Court papers said an investigation into Hughes began after a routine clerk performance audit was run by the store owner, who noticed that Hughes allegedly had an unusually high number of line deletions, canceled and no sale transactions while logged onto the register. According to court documents, Hughes allegedly used several methods to simulate a cash transaction when a customer came to check out. For example, a number of the no sales transactions were immediately preceded by price inquiry transactions, which would open the register drawer and give the impression of a legitimate cash sale, police said. Hughes also reportedly used pickups and deposits to simulate actual sales.
Hughes counted his own drawer at the end of his shift and had the ability to drop his pickup transactions in the safe at any time, without verification by another manager, police said.
Authorities said the store owner shared his concerns with a district manager, whom alerted the state Bureau of Audits.
An investigation allegedly revealed Hughes stole the proceeds of what would have been hundreds of legitimate cash transactions with customers, reportedly allowing the customer to leave with alcohol and pocketing the cash.
Police charged Hughes with stealing between $17,981.88 and $26,673.26 from the business. The larger figure represents the entire inventory loss recorded for the period of time between January 2012 and May 2013. Authorities estimated that if only one unit of alcohol was counted for each fraudulent transaction, the amount stolen would equal $17,981.88.
No net inventory loss was recorded after Hughes’ suspension, police said.
Hughes was arraigned by Judge Catherine Hummel-Fried of Red Hill District Court Friday. Bail was set at $30,000 unsecured. Hughes later posted bail.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 11 at 10:15 a.m.