Wendy’s manager accused of taking money from restaurant

Smiley

A Wendy’s manager was accused Wednesday of taking $921.29 in refunds from the restaurant.

Mahala Marie Smiley, 21, of Lake City, Florida, was working as a manager at Wendy's, at 9225 NW 39th Ave., when regional management began noticing “suspicious refunds” during her working hours, according to an Alachua County Sheriff’s Office arrest report.

Eighteen refunds were found from Nov. 23 to Jan. 5, the report said. It totaled to $921.29.

Management reported the theft and a criminal investigation began, the report said. Smiley was interviewed by a deputy on Wednesday.

She denied knowing why he was conducting the interview, the report said. She was asked to explain the refund process.

To process a refund, a receipt from the original purchase must be filed. Smiley began explaining that the receipt goes into a folder, when she told deputies she had taken “advantage of the refund system a few times,” the report said.

“She was trustworthy. I thought she was,” said Sally Beth Herrick, the district manager at Wendy’s Smiley managed. “I was totally shocked.”

Herrick worked with her at another Wendy's in Alachua when Smiley was an assistant manager in training from June to July 2018.

Smiley told deputies she had “fallen on hard times” and took the money, the report said. She did not say how much money she took or how many times she did this.

“It was a dumb mistake on my part and I’ll admit that,” Smiley told The Alligator.

She is charged with grand theft.

Smiley was released from the Alachua County Jail at Thursday at 1:37 p.m.

Contact Katherine Wallace-Fernandez at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @katwf98.