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Bartender says he was forced to repay thousands after being robbed at gunpoint

Updated September 24, 2021 - 7:27 am

A Las Vegas bartender’s account of being forced to reimburse his employer for thousands of dollars stolen during a 2020 robbery at the tavern where he worked has sparked outrage on social media.

Edward Parker, 42, said he was working at the Lodge at Hualapai, 3460 S. Hualapai Way, at 6:30 a.m. Dec. 4 when a stranger entered.

“A gentleman entered the bar, pointed a gun at me, robbed my bar,” Parker would later tell the Clark County grand jury that indicted a Las Vegas couple in the heist. The crime was caught on surveillance video.

Parker took to the Vegas Bartenders & Servers Facebook page, saying he was leaving Las Vegas and that he wanted to inform other bartenders and servers of what happened to him after the robbery.

He wrote that ownership and management demanded that he reimburse them.

“I was then given the choice to pay back the money that was stolen to keep my job or get fired (TRUE STORY),” Parker wrote.

Parker posted a picture of a Lodge repayment form that gave him two options: repaying the $3,937.35 in one lump sum or through $300 installments.

“I’m ashamed to say that I was terrified of losing a great paying job during a chaotic time in America and chose to pay the money back and stay employed,” Parker wrote in the post. “I will regret that choice for years to come.”

Parker, reached this week by phone, declined a request for an interview.

He said only that everything he wrote in the post was “100 percent accurate.”

A phone call Wednesday morning to the Lodge at Hualapai was referred to the Lodge’s corporate office.

Two messages specifically seeking comment f0r this story were left at that office Wednesday and Thursday. The messages were not returned.

Parker’s narrative, which was shared Monday by the popular Vital Vegas Twitter account, prompted people on social media to question whether the repayment agreement was legal or proper.

Two Las Vegas attorneys reviewed Parker’s Facebook post on Thursday for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Both said that such a repayment agreement was not enforceable.

“To me, the threat of losing one’s job if they don’t pay this money that was taken from a robbery is a violation of public policy and could very well result in a wrongful termination claim against the Bar,” attorney Robert Murdock wrote in an email to the newspaper.

Attorney Joseph Mott said the account, if true, represented “a clear example of an employer improperly taking advantage of its employee.”

“Aside from the absurdity of forcing an employee who was a victim of armed robbery to repay stolen money or be fired, the employer’s conduct likely also violated Nevada regulations designed to protect employees,” Mott wrote. “Within the relevant regulation, an employer may only deduct from an employee’s wages amounts that the employer reasonably believes the employee was responsible for. In this case, the employee doesn’t appear to be responsible for the loss, so forcing the employee to repay the loss from his wages is a violation of the Code.”

Las Vegas police ultimately arrested a Las Vegas couple, Jack McLaughlin, 42, and Daniela Tito, 38, in a string of bar robberies in the valley, including the one at the Lodge. They were indicted on charges including robbery with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery and burglary with a firearm.

Contact Glenn Puit at gpuit@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0390. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.

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