Police: Hillside Cafe waitress boosted tips from 98 customers


Police say a Newberry Township waitress made 98 of her customers' tips more generous than the patrons had intended.

Emily R. Bielawa, 24, of 120 Byron Nelson Circle, has been charged with 98 counts of forgery, which is a class-two felony, as well as 98 misdemeanor counts each of access device fraud, identity theft and theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received for allegedly increasing the value of tips her customers who paid with credit cards had written on their bills, according to charging documents.

Fairview Township Police say Bielawa, who worked at Hillside Cafe at 589 Salem Road in Fairview Township, made the patrons' tips from $1 to $20 higher than the tips actually were. All told, she received $437.84 more than she should have, police allege.

The cafe's owner received complaints from patrons who had paid more than they thought they should, according to charging documents. When he looked into it, he realized that all the issues were for customers served by Bielawa, who worked at the cafe from Jan. 18 until June 30, documents state.

The changes to the tips took place between March 21 and June 30, according to police.

The owner told police he'd repaid all the customers who had been charged the wrong amount, according to charging documents. He also turned over the cafe's records to police.

Bielawa admitted she'd changed the tip values, according to documents. She told police she had made a terrible mistake and was ashamed of what she'd done.

Officer Tyson L. Baker, who filled out the criminal complaint against Bielawa, wrote that she wasn't a flight risk and suggested that she just have a court summons sent to her rather than send law enforcement to arrest her. That's what magisterial district judge Scott Gross' office did, according to online court records.

— Reach Sean Cotter at scotter@yorkdispatch.com.