Two UniSea Bartenders Charged With Theft
Thursday, May 23 2013
Two UniSea bartenders have been charged with felony theft for allegedly taking cash from the Harbor View Bar.
Ethan Higa, 24, and Sara Katz, 31, are accused of stealing a total of $1500 from the bar in two separate incidents.
According to court documents, UniSea’s human resources staff got police involved after an internal investigation into the missing money went nowhere. Public safety sent officers to question several bar employees, including Higa and Katz.
Higa allegedly stole $500 from a locked cash box on February 22 after finding the key in a back office. He told officers that he held onto the key, and kept it in his room at the UniSea bunkhouse. Public safety got a search warrant and found the key stashed in a dresser, as Higa had described.
As for the second theft, Higa's accused of stealing $1000 out of a back office on March 8.
Higa told officers that he gave some of the money to his coworker, Sara Katz. He alleges that Katz knew the money had been stolen -- and he says she helped him figure out which cash box each employee used, to avoid taking money from certain staff members.
Katz confirms that she was at work when money first went missing in February, but she denies involvement in any alleged thefts.
Still, deputy police chief Michael Holman says officers thought they had enough evidence from interviews to tie both Higa and Katz to the missing money.
They were arrested May 4. Each was charged with two counts of theft II, and released on a promise to appear at all future hearings. Higa has to stay in Unalaska until a pre-trial hearing on June 13. But Katz has permission to travel to Oregon and make arrangements for her family, as long as she’s back on the island for a hearing on July 1.
In the meantime, both Higa and Katz are banned from UniSea property. And they're banned from talking to each other about the case.