Manager, boyfriend accused in Burger King theft

October 23, 2013
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Justin Twardon
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Melissa Temple

A former closing-shift manager at a Jefferson Avenue fast-food restaurant and her boyfriend were arrested Wednesday by Washington police for allegedly stealing more than $3,000 from the business earlier this month.

Melissa L. Temple, 29, and Justin E. Twardon, 23, both of 121 Third St., Waynesburg, also are being investigated in connection with similar thefts earlier this year from Burger King, 775 Jefferson Ave., said police Detective Dan Rush. The two were taken into custody at their home Wednesday morning by Constable Paul Kosey.

Police were first contacted April 23 by Burger King management after $1,500 was stolen from the safe in the manager’s office. The doors to the restaurant were unlocked, and the alarm was deactivated. There also was no forced entry made to the safe. Management told police that the theft happened sometime between the close of business the previous night and the opening that day.

Through his investigation, Rush learned that only five employees had access to the office. Four additional thefts were reported at the restaurant over the next several months, including one at 2:16 a.m. Oct. 3. Police received a report of an alarm activation at the restaurant and arrived to find the business secure.

Management told Rush later that morning that surveillance video showed a person entering the office and removing a bank bag containing $3,205. It also showed a second person stayed outside the building. Temple was later identified as the one inside the restaurant, while Twardon stayed outside, police said.

Rush questioned Temple, who was the closing manager Oct. 2. Police say she admitted to being in Washington at the time of the theft with Twardon, then confessed her involvement to the regional manager of Burger King.

Rush said he will try to determine if Temple and Twardon also were involved in the four other thefts from the restaurant. The detective said more than $11,000 was stolen during those thefts, which were carried out in a similar manner.

Temple and Twardon were arraigned on charges of theft and conspiracy before District Judge Robert Redlinger and each placed in Washington County jail on $10,000 bond. A preliminary hearing before Redlinger is set for Nov. 6.

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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