Local diner owner speaks out after alleged theft of $23,000

Published: Feb. 1, 2018 at 10:12 PM MST
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Small business owners have to rely on their employees for their livelihood.

Sometimes that trust can be broken.

"She was put in a position of trust and she totally violated our trust," said Randy Emmons, the owner of Randy's Southside Diner. in Grand Junction.

Emmons is talking about the former manager of his Orchard Mesa location, Judy Ortiz. She was ticketed for felony theft last year.

The manager would allegedly take the cash on hand at the end of the day to the bank. In Ortiz's case, Emmons said she started taking it home instead of the bank. Over a year that added up to $23,000. The pain of that alleged crime hit at an especially vulnerable time for Emmons.

"Had some health problems with my family...we couldn't keep track of things as well as we do now," Emmons said. "We're moving our Clifton location and It was a large purchase and it took a lot of the fluff out of the bank account."

Because of the citation, she never was booked in jail, which is why there is no mugshot.

Emmons said she confessed to the Grand Junction Police Department. Last month, she pled not guilty and a trial is scheduled for May.

"Unfortunately all my employees have been punished for it because they haven't been able to have raises," Emmons said. "To sell bacon and eggs at $5 or $6 a plate, it's hard to get that $20,000 back."

"You can't let this stop you from trusting people, but you have to check up more often."

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