Man arrested in theft case

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A 40-year-old Steamboat Springs man was arrested Thursday on suspicion of stealing almost $900 from his employer's safe at the Old West Steak House.

The money was reported missing Tuesday morning and, on Thursday, Richard Johnson Adams was arrested on suspicion of third-degree burglary and theft, which is a felony charge.

According to police reports, Adams, who was a bartender and waiter at the restaurant at 1104 Lincoln Ave. and lived in the restaurant's employee housing, took the money from the safe early Tuesday morning and left for Nevada.

Inside the safe, Adams left a note indicating he had taken the money because of a death in the family. Adams later told police the note was a ruse to buy more time to pay the money back.

Adams told police he was having problems because of his cocaine use and wanted to get away from Steamboat to help kick his drug habit, according to police reports.

At about 3 p.m. Tuesday, restaurant owner Don Silva told police he received a phone call from Adams, who was sobbing and apologetic about taking the money and recounted the story of the death in the family. He said he was in Las Vegas, on his way to California to fly to Florida.

Silva received another call eight hours later when Adams admitted he was lying and asked whether he could come back to Steamboat. On Thursday morning, Adams returned and confessed to the police, reports stated.

Adams said he had spent money on gas, food and other necessities and returned to the owners a bag containing $500.

Adams remains in the Routt County Jail on a $5,000 bond. He will appear in court Thursday.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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