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Former dealership employee accused of theft

| Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, 12:56 a.m.

A Bethel Park man is accused of stealing nearly $37,000 from customers who bought cars from Century III Chevrolet in West Mifflin to feed his gambling addiction, according to the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office.

Robert Francis Heiser, 28, was arraigned on Thursday on charges of theft and receiving stolen property and released on $35,000 bond.

Investigators said Heiser, a former finance manager at the dealership along Lebanon Church Road, told at least six customers purchasing new and used cars to leave the payee line blank on their down payment checks because he intended to later use a stamp with the dealership's name. Instead, Heiser reportedly wrote his name on the line and deposited the checks — ranging from $2,500 to $11,200 — in his own bank account.

Representatives for the dealership filed a complaint with West Mifflin police in July and Heiser told investigators that he had a gambling problem and had been stealing money from the company for approximately 16 months. He said he frequented the Rivers Casino on the North Side and detectives said he lost more than $175,000 between August 2009 and last month. Heiser was fired the day he confessed.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

Tim Karan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1970, or tkaran@tribweb.com.

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