Former Norwich McDonald's manager pleads no contest in embezzlement case

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The former manager of the McDonald's restaurant on Town Street in Norwich pleaded no contest Thursday in New London Superior Court to stealing approximately $25,000 from the restaurant.

Jolene Rochester, 31, of Norwich received a fully suspended prison sentence followed by five years of probation for second-degree larceny. Judge Hillary B. Strackbein ordered her to repay the restaurant $10,000 during her probation term and said Rochester would be subject to a civil judgment following her probation that would give her an additional 10 years to make restitution.

According to prosecutor Christa L. Baker, beginning in June 2017, Rochester would allow employee Patricia Dyer to use her manager code to steal money from the cash register. Both she and Dyer stole from the business, according to Baker.

Rochester was represented by attorney Michael E. Jewell, who was appointed by the court to represent her. Noting she is a single mother, he asked the judge to waive court fees.

"You're supposed to be a role model for your children," Judge Strackbein told Rochester. "You're not supposed to be a thief."

The judge waived the probation fee because she said Rochester's money needs to go toward repayment of the victim. The prosecutor said McDonald's representatives told her they didn't file a claim with their insurance carrier to recover the stolen funds because they didn't want their premiums to increase.

The other employee, Dyer, had pleaded guilty to second-degree larceny on March 1. She received a suspended sentence, five years probation and an order of restitution, according to court records.

k.florin@theday.com

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