Crime

Police: A man used cargo shorts to sneak $48,557 out of BB&T Ballpark

Nearly $50,000 went missing from BB&T Ballpark on Saturday. Police are investigating.
Nearly $50,000 went missing from BB&T Ballpark on Saturday. Police are investigating. jeason@charlotteobserver.com

Police are investigating embezzlement at BB&T Ballpark after about $50,000 went missing on Saturday.

Surveillance video footage indicates that the employee suspected of stealing the money left the area where Professional Sports Catering keeps its money with his “cargo pockets bulging...full with unknown items,” a search warrant said.

The Observer is not naming the suspect because he hasn’t been charged with a crime.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police responded to the ballpark around 3 p.m. Saturday after Tom Gorter, director of stadium operations for the Charlotte Knights, reported that $48,557 had gone missing from a safe sometime after midnight, the search warrant said.

Two employees told a CMPD detective that they locked $102,124.40 inside the catering company’s safe just after midnight on Saturday, following a Knights game against the Gwinnett Braves.

When one of those employees returned to the ballpark around 3 p.m. and started counting the money in the safe, she discovered that nearly half of it was gone.

According to the search warrant, the CMPD detective then reviewed surveillance video and keycard access information to determine that a particular employee had entered the area where the money was kept several times between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. that day.

On video, the employee was seen leaving the area with a money bag, though he told police he was using it to open the Fuzzy Peach, a frozen yogurt shop in the ballpark.

The employee’s description of what he did during the day didn’t agree with the footage and access information police had, the search warrant said.

He told police he left the ballpark just after noon on Saturday to meet his family for lunch at Costco — but video footage showed him leaving the safe area “with bulging pockets” at that time, the search warrant said.

The Knights released a statement on the incident to WBTV Wednesday.

“The Knights are aware that there is a potential mishandling of funds from the food service operation and we are working with CMPD in the investigation,” the statement said.

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