A father-son duo recently stole more than $41,000 worth of frozen chicken wings in an internal theft incident from a locally owned restaurant in Syracuse, New York. The Onondaga County Sherriff’s Office has charged Paul Rojek, 56, and his son Joshua, 33, with grand larceny and falsifying business records.
Both men were employed as cooks by the Twin Trees Too restaurant in Syracuse. According to a release from the sheriff’s office, the men reportedly placed a number of orders for chicken wings from the restaurant’s wholesaler between February and November. They would then pick up the orders and resell the food product on the street or to other establishments.
“Obviously there is a market somewhere,” Jason Thomas, a restaurateur in Syracuse, told Syracuse.com. “I would imagine that’s in places that are not your ordinary, run-of-the mill restaurants. They would have to be a little seedy. The establishments that are…buying product off the back of a truck—they should be fined and prosecuted. It’s not OK.”
According to the National Restaurant Association, employee theft is responsible for nearly three quarters of inventory shortages in the restaurant industry. In addition, the latest report from logistics security organization FreightWatch International indicated that food and drink products are now the most-stolen type of freight since 2008: they accounted for 22% of total cargo thefts in the United States in July, August and September 2015. (Read our article Cargo Theft Taking a Bite Out of Retail Profits for more information.)
This is not Paul Rojek’s first encounter with the law: he was also charged for stealing from an employer he’d had in 2014. The Rojeks were arraigned at Syracuse Criminal Court and sent to jail with a $2,400 bail.