FLORISSANT, MO - A Florissant man is accused of stealing more than $40,000 from the bowling alley where he worked for nearly 40 years.
According to the Florissant Police Department, the owner of Crest Bowl bowling alley in Florissant suspected one of his employees, identified as Herbert Meyer, 57, had been stealing from his business over the last several months.
"Not in a million years would we ever have thought he was capable of it or doing it," said Gary Shenberg, owner of Crest Bowl.
Shenberg said Crest Bowl has been in business since the late 1950s. He has owned it for almost seven years.
Shenberg estimated Meyer had worked at the bowling alley since he was a teenager. Shenberg said Meyer had a key to the building.
"He had all our trust," said Shenberg. "So, it wasn't something we ever expected or looked for."
About two years ago, Shenberg installed a new register system. Then he started to notice money was going missing.
The new system made it easy for Shenberg to track the discrepancies, and then he saw it with his own two eyes.
"We were also able to watch it on camera, which was probably one of the harder parts to see it and watch it," said Shenberg. "He was very methodical about it."
Police learned Meyer would accept cash payment from customers, and then press the button for a "free game," thus resetting the total owed to zero. Meyer would take the cash and place it in a separate drawer which he would retrieve later.
Police said Meyer confessed to running this scheme over an 18-month period and estimated he had stolen approximately $45,000. Business records suggest Meyer stole $43,615.04 between November 2017 and October 2018.
Shenberg said it does not appear Meyer was living lavishly or spending the money in ways one might assume.
"I really think he was addicted to just seeing it in his bank account, and from what I understand, that's what he was doing with it," he said.
Shenberg said he does not believe Meyer deserves jail time for his crime, but he hopes Meyer will be ordered to repay the business the missing money.
The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office charged Meyer with felony stealing – $25,000 or more. His bond was set at $15,000. Court records show Meyer was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court on Feb. 11.