NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A former 55 South cook is accused of stealing money from the Spring Hill location.
The incident happened Monday morning, around 5 a.m. Investigators say a man, later identified as John Creech, threw a rock through glass then made his way to the restaurant’s rear office, opening the safe using the combination.
According to police, the 37-year-old was spotted when he was leaving by another citizen who recognized Creech and even waved to him.
Police say that name and information developed at the crime scene lead to investigators getting a warrant for John Creech’s arrest by early afternoon. Within hours, Spring Hill officers arrived at the home that Creech shares with his wife and new baby.
He was taken into custody without incident.
According to police, while in the garage, the suspect asked for a cigarette. When police reached down to get him a smoke, they found two bank bags stuffed with all the restaurant’s money.
Police returned more than $5,000 in business proceeds to the managers at 55 South.
“I think the officers followed up on all the leads they had this day and were able to get this business their money back,” said Lt. Justin Whitwell. “It is a nice feeling to make sure we get the business their money back and case closed.”
Creech is charged with burglary but Whitwell says more charges are possible.
By Tuesday afternoon, as the early lunch crowd arrived at 55 South, News 2 spoke with General Manager Brittany Thomson who said news of the crime is still shocking. “To me personally, I felt hurt, betrayed. I felt I failed as a GM.”
Thomson worked with Creech, a cook, for close to a year. “We hired him. He did his job. He was well-liked by everyone. And everyone is kind of freaking out about it.”
When the cook quit to take another job, Thomson said his coworkers threw him a party. “We threw him a to-go party. We bought him a couple of drinks afterward. I told him, you have a job if your new job doesn’t work out and thank you for everything.”
News that Creech allegedly smashed the window in the restaurant and then had the code to the safe came as shocking news to former co-workers.
“We thought he was a friend. You don’t this to the people you care about regardless. I could not believe it. And then I felt bad for his family. He has a wife and kids. He has a newborn baby. What compelled him to do this blows my mind.”
According to the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, Creech has two prior DUI’s on his criminal history. He reportedly made bond and is out of jail.