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The Villages
Monday, June 5, 2023

Waitress who stole $15,000 from diner in The Villages failed to make restitution

Paula Jean Fayard
Paula Jean Petras

A waitress who stole $15,000 from a diner in The Villages but failed to make restitution remains behind bars.

Paula Jean Petras, 50, of Chiefland, was booked this past week without bond on a probation violation at the Sumter County Detention Center.

Petras, who is also using the last name Fayard, was placed on five years probation in 2019 after stealing $15,000 from her employer when she was working at Darrell’s Diner at Pinellas Plaza.

As part of her sentence, she was ordered to pay the money back to her former employer. Petras was put on a payment plan and was supposed to pay $250 per month to make restitution. However, she stopped making payments after June 1 of last year.

The violation of probation report indicates that Petras is employed at Monterey Boats in Williston and earns $3,600 per month. She is living with her wife, Laurie Fayard, the report said.

While Petras was working at Darrell’s Diner, she had been given the power to override transactions. This was done primarily if a customer complained about the quality of a meal. The manager said that when Petras would clear her sales at the end of the day she would only report credit sales and put all of the cash sales in her pocket. Petras was voiding transactions up to 12 times a day totaling approximately $150 to $175 dollars each day. The situation came to light after another employee witnessed Petras void a transaction in which cash was paid for a breakfast and the amount of sale was reset to zero, even though cash was paid for the items purchased. Petras, in an interview at the Wildwood Police Station, said she was not guilty. The former resident of the Leyton Villas said the transactions were not intentional but were a “mistake.”

Petras, who previously went by the name Paula Ayers, was arrested in 2017 after allegedly filing a false police report in which she had claimed she was the victim of a sexual battery. She later escaped prosecution in the case. In 2011, she was convicted on a charge of driving under the influence and later served time in jail after violating her probation in that case.

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