TALBOT COUNTY, Ga. (WRBL) — The Talbot County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest of an employee who allegedly stole over $22,000 from his place of employment during the entire month of February on Tuesday.
On Feb. 24, Talbot County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to 8188 Manchester Hwy in Woodland, Georgia, to a report about a theft at the Valero gas station, aka the Geo Foodmart.
According to the sheriff’s office, after officers arrived at the scene, deputies spoke with the owner of the Valero gas station, who stated that an employee had stolen from the business.
The owner stated that he marked money inside the cash register and witnessed on camera an employee, Harish Bhatia, put the cash in his pocket.
The owner also reported to deputies that he sent a customer in with a winning ticket, where Bhatia paid out the cash register but failed to scan the tickets through the Georgia Lottery Machine and instead placed the ticket in his pocket.
As a result, deputies arrested Bhatia for Theft by Taking and Theft by Conversion, both felonies.
When searched, a deputy found Bhatia possessing $1400 in marked $100 bills, which the business owner had previously placed in the cash register, along with $840 worth of winning lottery tickets.
The Talbot County Sheriff’s Office says investigators later arrived at the scene and watched video surveillance, discovering that Bhatia had stolen money and winning tickets on 24 different occasions during February.
It was later determined that Bahatia fraudulently scanned the lottery tickets by hitting ticket inquiry instead of the cash-out button on the Georgia Lottery machine.
Bhatia also took the winning lottery tickets to an unknown store in Columbus, Georgia, and cashed them out for himself.
Investigators also determined that Bhatia had stolen a total of $2230 on Feb. 24 and $22,910 during the entire month of February.
Following the investigation, Bhatia was charged with 24 counts of Theft by Taking and 24 counts of Theft by Conversion, all felonies.
The Talbot County Sheriff’s Office says that Bhatia is being held at the Talbot County Jail and that Bhatia may incur additional charges.