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Primanti manager accused of stealing funds, gambling it away at casino, waives hearing

Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Ben Bartilson, 30, waived his preliminary hearing on three counts of theft and one count of misapplication of entrusted funds Thursday before North Versailles District Judge Robert Barner. Bartilson, of McKeesport, is a former Primanti Bros. manager and is accused of stealing more than $30,000 from several of the stores and gambled it at casinos. Bartilson confessed to the thefts through text messages to his boss, and said he took the money because he didn’t get a bonus at work.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014, 2:30 p.m.
 

The manager of four suburban Primanti Bros. restaurants will stand trial on charges that he stole $30,000 and gambled it away at a casino.

Ben Bartilson, 30, of McKeesport waived his preliminary hearing on Thursday before North Versailles District Judge Robert Barner.

Bartilson is charged with three counts of theft and one count of misapplication of entrusted funds.

Two women and his attorney, John Foster, accompanied him to court. They all declined to comment.

Bartilson managed Primanti locations in North Versailles, Robinson, Moon and Pleasant Hills. He admitted to stealing the money in text messages to his boss, Morghan McLaughlin, saying he took the money because he didn't receive a bonus, according to a criminal complaint written by Jackelyn Weibel, a detective with the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office.

Bartilson was supposed to have deposited daily receipts for the restaurants. Weibel said the alleged thefts were from locations in North Versailles, Robinson and Moon between Feb. 12-23.

Primanti Bros. officials did not return calls. They discovered $30,064 missing, but it wasn't clear why no one realized the money wasn't deposited until Bartilson confessed.

Bartilson has no criminal record. Chase Bank sued him for failing to pay a $6,300 credit card bill in 2009, court records show. He paid the bill and $300 in attorney's fees a year later.

Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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