Reporting Brad Edwards
LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. (CBS) – He may be the world’s biggest Disney fan, but a local restaurant manager is in huge trouble with the law for the way he allegedly paid for 15 recent Disney trips.
26-year-old Alexander Pera is charged with identity theft and money laundering.
It’s alleged Pera pilfered customer and employee identities for in part, 15 stays at Walt Disney World Resort stays in five months, and two cruises aboard the Disney Cruise in the spring.
He was a manager at Lincolnshire’s Eddie Merlot’s, known for $50 steaks and its smoking shrimp cocktail.
Jason Breslaw was at the restaurant celebrating his birthday.
Asked whether he was concerned about the identity theft, Breslaw said, “Of course. We’re paying cash.”
The initial tip came in from authorities in Florida, where it’s alleged Pera paid for those Disney soirées with in-part fraudulently obtained pre-paid cards, purchased with the stolen one’s.
When he was arrested, he had fictitious id’s, gift cards and a loaded handgun.
“We are very sad to learn of this isolated incident at this one location,” Bruce Kraus, director of operations for Eddie Merlot’s, told CBS 2 in a written statement. “Based on our preliminary investigation, we do not believe that any customer’s purchase of food or beverage was involved in the incident. Rest assured we will be going above and beyond to rectify the issue with any affected patron. We will continue to cooperate with authorities and remain vigilant.”
While Kraus indicated they do not believe customer data was compromised, police say that it was.
He’s being held on a $500,000 bond and police are still trying to figure out who all the victims are.
Anyone who dined at the restaurant and later had their credit card compromised or was the victim of ID theft should call police at (847) 913-2349.