Bartender accused of stealing over $8K from Las Vegas Strip resort

A general view of the Treasure Island hotel and casino Thursday, May 3, 2018, in Las Vegas....
A general view of the Treasure Island hotel and casino Thursday, May 3, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)(John Locher | AP)
Published: Sep. 27, 2023 at 3:29 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - A Las Vegas man has been arrested after allegedly stealing over $8,000 from his employer while working as a bartender at a strip resort.

According to court documents, Melese Shiferaw was arrested on Sept. 22 after Las Vegas police were dispatched to Treasure Island for a charge of embezzlement. Officers made contact with hotel security and Shiferaw was identified as the suspect.

Security told police that while running reports of “void” and “no sale” transactions at Treasure Island points of sale, they discovered that the suspect, a pool bartender, “had a high volume of both.” Security watched his transactions over a two-week period and witnessed on surveillance video that Shiferaw would ring up orders that involved cash as “no sale.”

Security explained that the suspect would use a supervisor’s employee number to run a system report to view what his total sales should be at the end of his shift and then take home the remainder of the cash. Shiferaw reportedly conducted that same process for voided items.

Police watched security video and confirmed that the suspect could be seen using a phone calculator before placing extra cash underneath the bank bag he used to make his drop at the end of his shift. On at least one occasion, video allegedly showed the suspect pocketing cash from his bank.

A Treasure Island security investigation found that Shiferaw took $8,068 over an 11-day period.

“To be honest, I messed up,” the suspect told police when asked why they were speaking to him. Shiferaw was read his Miranda rights before telling investigators that he “sometimes messes up and rings some stuff by accident,” adding that “sometimes he takes home some money by accident.”

He admitted that “sometimes he gets busy” and the register doesn’t match what he is supposed to drop. He claimed that he took money home and brought it back for his next shift. Shiferaw was also aware of the resort’s policy that a $20 discrepancy results in a write-up and a $100 difference results in an investigation and possible termination.

The suspect told police that he has worked at the hotel since 2001 and has been a bartender for the last ten years. He said he has been taking money for roughly a year and he pledged to pay back “whatever Treasure Island says” he took.

Shiferaw is facing charges of conspiracy to commit theft and embezzlement of a value of more than $5,000 but less than $25,000. He has a Justice Court appearance scheduled for Oct. 30.

FOX5 reached out to Treasure Island for comment but has not heard back.