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Charges: Woodbury restaurant manager embezzled thousands

Patrick James Langbein

The former manager of a Woodbury Bonfire Wood Fire Cooking is accused of embezzling several thousand dollars from the restaurant over the course of a year.

Patrick James Langbein, 38, was charged with felony theft by swindle in Washington County after his former employer said he allegedly pocketed more than $250,000 from company accounts used primarily to pay wait staff's tips.

Langbein was arrested April 24, according to county jail records.

Langbein worked as the woodfire grill's general manager in Woodbury and Savage until January 2016 when he was terminated, according to the criminal complaint filed last December in district court.

An assistant manager contacted law enforcement shortly after Langbein's firing after noticing a company account had "an extremely low balance," the complaint said.

A forensic audit revealed 97 incidents in which Langbein allegedly took money from the restaurants' on-hand cash accounts that are typically used to pay wait staff's credit card tips and purchase miscellaneous items for the restaurant.

The complaint listed several instances Langbein requested checks made out to "cash" from the company's corporate office to replenish the Woodbury and Savage restaurants' cash accounts.

The audit later determined the requested amount to be significantly less than the amount of money worker's claimed in tips.

On Dec. 18, 2015, Langbein requested $3,350 after listing $2,652 in server's tips. A daily sales report listed less than $900 in workers' tips, according to the complaint. Another instance, the audit found no record of heating repairs when he requested $3,025 to get the Woodbury restaurant's heat fixed.

In all, Langbein is alleged to have stolen $265,493, with the majority of the thefts occurring in Woodbury.

The complaint did not list the reason for his firing.

A representative for Nath Companies, Bonfire Wood Fire Cooking's parent company, declined to comment on the case.

Last week, Langbein pleaded guilty to felony theft charges in Dakota County after admitting he stole nearly $1,500 while managing a restaurant in Lakeville last spring.

The Lakeville restaurant's owner showed law enforcement surveillance footage of Langbein "stuffing money into his pockets" after accessing a cabinet containing tip and pull tab money, according to court records.

A Dakota County judge sentenced him to 78 days on April 20. Langbein was released for time served in county jail.

Authorities in Washington County executed a nationwide arrest warrant because they didn't know Langbein's whereabouts.

The complaint in Washington County lists a Bloomington address, while charges in Dakota County list a Hillsboro, Wis. address for Langbein.

He posted $100,000 bail on Monday, according to court records.

Langbein's next court appearance is May 8.