$18,000 embezzled from Garlic Festival - Morgan Hill Times: Crime Fire Courts

$18,000 embezzled from Garlic Festival

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Posted: Friday, August 10, 2012 7:05 am

Something stinks in the aftermath of the Gilroy Garlic Festival, and no, it’s not of garlic.

After auditing their profits, the Garlic Festival Association reported to police on Aug. 2 that more than $18,000 was stolen from a festival cash drawer during the weekend of the festival – from someone behind the ticket counter.

Brian Bowe, Garlic Festival director believes that cash was stolen from one of the two ticket booths during open hours of the festival, spread out over the three-day festival.

“We take several precautions to prevent this type of theft from occurring and we carefully account for all tickets sold and cash collected. In spite of this, someone behind the counter was able to covertly pocket the currency,” Bowe said in a written statement.

If the money was in fact stolen behind the counter during operating hours, then the thief is mostly likely a festival volunteer – but Bowe would not confirm that, or make any further comments about the alleged theft.

Gilroy Police are not currently investigating the theft, because of “higher priority” incidents in the city, such as the July 22 murder at the Sobrato Apartments – but Police Sgt. Chad Gallacinao said that the department hopes to look into “this important matter” soon.

Gallacinao would not comment about specifics to the on-hold investigation, including whether or not Garlic Festival staff pointed to any suspects for the theft.

“We realize the importance of this, but it is a property related crime, and right now detectives are working on priority investigations involving crimes against people. We will investigate this important theft as soon as we are available,” Gallacinao said.

“We will soon determine who was responsible for the theft and hold them accountable for their actions,” he said.

The theft is in no way related to the 1,000 tickets that were stolen from the festival office before the event.

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  • LauraB posted at 11:54 pm on Wed, Aug 15, 2012.

    LauraB Posts: 43

    Robin, what I don't understand :
    The ticket takers need to balance out at the end of their shift. ie

    The ticket takers start with so many tickets.
    And sometimes is repleshed with more tickets.
    All tickets that the cashier is given, is documented (somewhere).

    Then at the end of their shift, they need to "balance out".
    ie, for every ticket they DON"T have in their possession, they need to have $18 CASH (or what ever the face value of said ticket) .

    Are the ticket takers not required to balance out ?

  • RobinEgbert posted at 11:01 am on Mon, Aug 13, 2012.

    RobinEgbert Posts: 31

    LauraB you're thinking too small. I've worked there in ticket sales. Read my other comment. The Garlic Festival is a fun place to go. Lots of people bring lots of $100 bills with them.

    So let's do the math this way:

    $18,000 in a stack of $100 bills = 180
    180 divided by 3 days = 60 bills a day
    This would be feasible.

    I'm sure new measures in ticket sale security will be implemented prior to the next Garlic Festival. Hopefully, that will not include the infamous Gloria Allread airport screening pat-down.

  • RobinEgbert posted at 10:40 am on Mon, Aug 13, 2012.

    RobinEgbert Posts: 31

    Embezzle, an interesting word. It means: misappropriate, steal, thieve, pilfer, purloin, appropriate, defraud someone of, siphon off, pocket, help oneself to; abstract; informal rob, rip off, skim, line one's pockets with, or pinch.

    I have volunteered in ticket sales at the Garlic Festival. My job? Collecting money and handing out tickets. The amount of cash taken in at the start of each day is breath taking. It is a real, feeding frenzy! I admit I was good at it. I beckoned more festivalgoers to my sales window than all other sales windows. I turned more tickets in a shorter amount of time than all others on my shift. Is there opportunity to embezzle? Always, when cash is pouring in at such a lightning pace.

    Why do we volunteer at the Garlic Festival? We do it for the kids in our community. So to me, this is like stealing from children. It's pretty vile. It also appears that this newspaper is amiss or at least faint-hearted at using a more creative or perhaps a more correct title. How about: Grand Theft At Garlic Festival - $18k Cash Stolen.

    If the local law enforcement is not interested in pursuing this case at this time I'm sure a sizeable bounty may encourage a whole herd of enthusiastic vigilantes ernestly seeking a new diversion. For convenience the list of workers names is already cataloged and computerized for each position. While there are several people on the ticket sales list that list is not as long as you think. Shall we catch a Garlic Thief?

  • LauraB posted at 11:59 pm on Sat, Aug 11, 2012.

    LauraB Posts: 43

    Or it's a simple accounting error. When tallying up someone recorded $2,000 instead of $20,000. Hence the $18,000 descrepency.

    100,204 attendees x $17 / per ticket = 1.7 Million dollars in tickets. so there's room for error, no ?

  • LauraB posted at 11:52 pm on Sat, Aug 11, 2012.

    LauraB Posts: 43

    That's a BIG stack of bills. If $18,000 in $20 dollar bills was indeed stolen, that would 900 of them. Some one's pockets must have been mighty full.

    My guess it was 2 people that were in it together. One being the one collecting at the ticket booth, and one at where ever the location the money is taken to, before it gets deposited into the bank.