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July 25, 2021

Davis conference center kitchen equipment stolen to open restaurant, charges state

LAYTON — A manager with the Davis County Conference Center is accused of stealing kitchen equipment from the facility and using it to open a restaurant in Murray, according to court records.

Rodrigo Enrique Yescas-Gonzalez, 50, of West Jordan, was charged Monday in 2nd District Court with two counts of theft, a second-degree felony and a third-degree felony.

According to charging documents and a search warrant affidavit, Yescas was the general manager of the conference center, 1651 N. Layton Hills Parkway in Layton, and was an employee of the state of Utah who worked with a management company that oversaw use and maintenance of the facility.

In August, an employee reported to authorities that he had been asked by Yescas to remove kitchen equipment and other items from the conference center and move them to a Gandolfo’s restaurant, 5430 S. 900 East in Murray, the charges state. The restaurant is owned by Yescas’ sister, according to the search warrant.

One man told police that beginning about March, he was paid by Yescas to transport equipment and install it at Gandolfo’s to get the restaurant ready for opening. He counted 13 pieces of equipment taken from the conference center including a Lincoln Impinger Pizza Oven, an ice machine, a stainless steel shelf and steel cabinet, an Amana microwave, a cold food prep fridge, a grill, a mixer, an espresso machine and more, the warrant states.

“The detective went to the restaurant in Salt Lake County and was able to observe, from a public part of the restaurant, one of the pieces of equipment that had been reported stolen,” according to charging documents. Police then got a search warrant and “located multiple pieces of restaurant equipment that had been removed from the conference center and taken to the restaurant, and the total value of that equipment was over $60,000. All but one of the items of equipment was installed in the kitchen of the restaurant and had obviously been used for operations at the restaurant.”

After being ordered to move the equipment from the conference center, the witness told police he was ordered by Yescas to replace it by pulling old kitchen equipment out of storage “so that it didn’t look like stuff was missing,” the warrant states.

A second witness told police that Yescas claimed he was going to buy the equipment from the county, according to the warrant. He also told authorities that there were two or three times that Yescas had him clock in for work at the conference center “and then drive to Gandolfo’s to work on the restaurant to get it ready for opening,” the warrant states.

Yescas is also accused of asking employees to make purchases on a company credit card that he claimed would be reimbursed by Davis County to the management company.

“The purchases were not authorized and were not reimbursed, and that total amount of the purchases was approximately $1,942,” the charges state.

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