• Man pleads guilty in alleged embezzlement ring
     | January 18,2014

    BENNINGTON — A local man pleaded guilty this week to a felony charge of embezzlement that police said happened during several months and involved several employees of the Subway restaurant on North Street in Bennington.

    Casey A. Gras, 26, pleaded guilty in Bennington criminal court Monday, the same day he was arraigned. The state dismissed a second felony charge, obstruction of justice.

    In an affidavit, Detective Sgt. David Rowland said police began investigating what was going on at the store Oct. 1. At the time, police spoke with the store manager, Alan Heany, who said he was suspicious of several employees there.

    Heany said a few of the employees had voided a large number of sales on the cash register. According to Heany, during the week before Oct. 1, Gras had rung up about 250 completed transactions and about 450 voided transactions.

    Heany also said average sale totals on Saturdays had been $2,000 to $2,300 and on Sundays about $1,200 to $1,600, but in the seven months Gras worked at the restaurant had dropped to about $1,100 to $1,200 on Saturdays and about $700 to $800 on Sundays.

    According to the affidavit, Gras admitted Oct. 1 to taking some money but not all of the money that had been taken.

    Bennington County Deputy State’s Attorney Robert Plunkett, who prosecuted the case, said authorities don’t yet have a total of how much money was taken.

    Gras was taken into custody at the time because he was being cited on the embezzlement charge. The new citation was a violation of Gras’ probation for a previous felony conviction from August for selling narcotics.

    Rowland said other employees of the Subway were interviewed throughout the following few weeks.

    One woman who worked there said she was aware of some suspicious activity but said Gras had told her, “If you say something, we can get back at you.”

    A second woman told Rowland other employees, along with Gras, were taking money on the weekends. Although she didn’t admit to directly taking money, she said she would be handed small amounts of money, or find money in her backpack or car, which she believed was because she didn’t tell the manager.

    She said one of the people taking money told her she was “involved” because she accepted the money, which she estimated was a total of $450. She told Rowland that some of the employees were trying to step away but “were pulled back into it.”

    A third woman told police she had been given $400 over time, which she called “shut-up” money. The woman said Gras told her that all of the employees were in it together and “if one of us goes down, we all go down together.”

    The fourth woman Rowland interviewed also said Gras and others had been taking money.

    As part of the plea agreement, Gras was sentenced to serve up to two years and agreed to repay the Subway restaurant.

    Asked if others would face charges based on the allegations, Plunkett said he could only say that the police investigation was continuing.

    patrick.mcardle @rutlandherald.com

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