Prosecutor drops BBPD’s grand theft-Daiquiri Deck case

A case involving the alleged theft of $20,000 from a Daiquiri Deck customer reached an early end.

The state attorney’s office filed a notice of case action Oct. 8 declining to press a second-degree felony charge against Tabatha Dondanville, a manager at the Bradenton Beach restaurant, for allegedly stealing the cash from a customer’s purse that was mistakenly left behind.

The prosecutor’s office sent a memo to the Bradenton Beach Police Department Oct. 9 explaining that the customer, Jasmine Bryant of Arcadia, had declined to press charges.

“The victim said she did not want to move forward with the criminal charges because she had promised the manager that she would not pursue criminal charges if she got her money back. She believes that the defendant’s arrest was enough punishment,” the memo stated.

“Without the testimony and cooperation of the victim, the state has insufficient evidence to prove the crime beyond a reasonable doubt and this charge is declined,” the memo continued.

Bryant’s decision is another twist in a case that already had a share of flip-flopping.

It began the night of Sept. 7, when Bryant forgot her purse after dining at the restaurant with her partner. She later told police the purse contained a large amount of money because she has distrust in banks.

Bryant called the restaurant but was told the employees couldn’t find the handbag.

Then she visited the restaurant the morning of Sept. 8 and spoke to manager Samantha Mitchell, who told her no purse was found but, on hearing Bryant calling the BBPD, then produced the missing purse from a back room.

When Mitchell returned the bag, it did not contain $20,000 — only a note that read, “Found in bathroom.”

BBPD Detective Sgt. Lenard Diaz and Lt. John Cosby arrived and viewed security camera footage from the restaurant’s interior that showed Dondanville taking the purse into the manager’s office on the night it went missing.

However, neither Dondanville nor Mitchell admitted to knowing the whereabouts of the missing cash.

Later in the day, Bryant called the BBPD to report that Mitchell returned the money under the condition that she wouldn’t further involve the police.

Still, Bryant signed an affidavit and agreed to press charges.

Diaz returned to the restaurant and spoke with Mitchell, who eventually said Dondanville took the money.

Diaz arrested Dondanville and took her to the police station, where she allegedly admitted to the theft.

Dondanville’s attorney, Ronald Filipkowski, had filed a not guilty plea on her behalf and also represented her in an arraignment hearing Oct. 2.

The state attorney’s office memo states that Dondanville was terminated from her job as a manager at the Daiquiri Deck.

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