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IHOP Workers Scheme to Get Higher Tips in Evans


A manager and three servers at the Evans IHOP have been arrested for cooking up a scheme to get more tips without hurting customers, according to authorities.

Their arrests are one of several stories in this week’s edition of The Jail Report, in stores now. (Cover image:

In the IHOP case, manager Shellie Damron (top left) and servers Watkins Hightower (top right), Lawrence Dingwall Jr. (bottom left) and Crenisha Mack (bottom right) were each charged last Monday with computer forgery and theft by conversion.

Investigators say the scheme went like this:
A customer paid for the meal and left whatever tip they wanted on a credit or debit card. Later, the suspects went onto the IHOP register and cancelled a specific food order from that paid check, moving that amount to the tip category. That netted them more money in the end.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Ken Summers said the loss to the restaurant tops $10,000 and could be as much as $80,000.

The employees were apparently caught when they got greedy and started adding higher amounts. In addition, other employees got wind of the scam and that led someone to notify the sheriff’s office.

“It had been going on for a number of months, but it had escalated to the point that things were more obvious and were easier to track,” Sgt. Summers said. “And you get more workers involved and other employees became concerned and brought it to management attention.”

Investigators looked at the law and felt the computer forgery and conversion offenses were the appropriate charges.

For more local crime stories from the CSRA, pick up this week’s edition of The Jail Report.

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Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh is an award-winning crime reporter in the Augusta-Aiken area with experience writing for The Augusta Chronicle, The Augusta Press and serving as publisher of The Jail Report. Rickabaugh is a 1994 graduate of the University of South Carolina and has appeared on several crime documentaries on the Investigation Discovery channel.


    • Or they could put the themselves in a better position so they dont have to work there…like honest people do. if they made minimum wage they still would have done it….no one asked them to apply there and ones a manager.

    • Are you attempting to excuse fraud and theft? Fraud/theft like this cost YOU more every time you go there and eat. Low skill jobs are meant to be an entry ‘stepping stone’ to something better after you have proven your reliability and enhanced your skillset. A conspiracy to defraud (steal from) IHOP could result in some serious time for the ring leader – as it should. If you agree to take a job at a given rate, then that is the deal you have made – dissatisfaction is not an excuse to be a criminal.

      • So if everybody moved up from a low job skill, then who would perform the duty then? What they did was wrong ,but at the same time some ppl do need to be paid better money. For instance capital one gives incintives to their employees and so fourth., you ask why? Because they are a smart company, keep your employees happy and loving their job = less theft if any at all. Everybody likes to go out and eat., you call it low job skills but everybody who likes to go out to eat needs them ppl working there. So if someone owns their own restaurant and works in it is a low life or on a lower level? The words of a white man smh….

        • How in the world can you compare Capital One with IHOP? I was going to say more but you proved my point – they offer you better positions after you have shown your ability to handle them. IHOP has nowhere else to go, you either wait tables, cook, clean and a few manage. It is not a company with a great deal of depth by nature of the business itself.

        • That’s not how it works… My company has an 87% turnover rate for part-time staff…people come and go they may get promoted they may move on its a pit stop its not a career and it makes me proud to see people with ambition come in learn and go on to bigger and better things. Some folks stay and don’t do not move its life the point is in this country its up to you…. These absolutes like oh what if everyone moved up is silly because you will always have a pool of high school kids coming in. They are stepping stone positions. Some people stay on the rock its their choice

  1. No you do NOT pay them more than $2.13/ hr. This is an entry level job meant for kids to get experience, not for someone to make a career out of and try to take care of their family with. To compare it to Capital One is just idiotic. Of course they take better care of their employees tard bc their employees aren’t high school dropouts with no education or viable skills. If you want a better job stay in school, put in the proper time and training, then you make better money, but if you want to drop out, get pregnant while you’re still living with your parents, and throw your life away this is what your future holds.

  2. Lol. I used to work with Shellie and I must say that this type of behavior from her and those she lead doesn’t surprise me. I wonder how Mr. Downie is taking this after losing his first IHOP in Augusta. O well.

  3. Dishonesty knows no pay range or socioeconomic status. You’re wired that way or you aren’t. Higher paid criminals or lower paid the end they are still criminals. From embezzlement at the corporate level to rigging the tickets at an IHOP. There is NO difference.

  4. The 2.13 an hour and how much someone tips arguments displayed in these posts are ignorant. None of that has anything to do with the real issue that thievery exists at every level.
    It seems as if some are just looking for a fight. Anywhere. Introvert in the streets – extrovert in their tweets. Lighten up and stay on topic.

  5. As a waitress at an ihop myself some of guys are ignorant. I’m working my way through college and I would never do anything like what these people did but the point is some people actually like being a server. It gives you an opportunity to meet tons of people. Being paid 2.13 sucks and yes we get tips but most people either don’t know to tip or they’re just petty and don’t tip. The people that tip really well yeah it helps but it doesn’t make up for the ones who stiff you. I love working here my customers are amazing and so are my coworkers but there are more servers than just high school drop outs and people who got pregnant too young. The fact that yall are judging people based of what they choose as a job is frankly ridiculous.

  6. The only IHOP mentioned was the Evans location. I wonder if the other two CSRA locations had the same issues. One thing that I find strange was that the IHOP has no cash register, so it’s up the servers to be their own cashiers. They have to carry a rather significant amount of cash [both small-bill paper and coin] in order to make change. If they run out, they have to walk over to Kroger or Wells Fargo to break larger bills.

    Regardless of how big or how little their salaries are, servers KNOW that the right way to make good tip money is to do a superior job. Managers from other restaurants make it a point to scope out their competitors’ establishments ─ spotting employées who are doing excellent work ─ and then possibly offering those people jobs with more responsibilities and higher wages.

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