Fallbrook bartender accused of stealing $1,000 worth of gifts from newlyweds

Couple says gift cards stolen at MaGee's Tavern

SAN DIEGO - A Fallbrook bartender faces serious charges after detectives say she made off with $1,000 worth of gifts for two newlyweds.

Paul and Tara Mattheson recently tied the knot and celebrated the big day at MaGee's Tavern in Fallbrook.

Friends and family showered them with gifts, including cash and gift cards. At the end of the night, it was all stashed away for safekeeping.

"After the reception, he asked his friend – who's also the owner of the bar – if he can lock the stuff up in his office," said San Diego County Sheriff's Detective Dan Laibach. "Not many people have access to the office other than him and his bartenders. The following day when he came back to get his gifts, he noticed that his gift box was gone with all his gift cards… maybe $1,000 worth, he thought."

The newlyweds first suspected a guest. They contacted the gift givers and ran the serial numbers on activated gift cards to see if any had been used.

Sure enough, they found a stolen card was used at a Home Depot in Oceanside. Surveillance video showed Chanda Sangerman, a bartender at MaGee's, buying buckets of paint.

"Through the photograph I was able to contact the bar owner and he said that was his bartender and she was working right now," said Laibach. "We went over there and she was placed under arrest."

Detectives say Sangerman broke down and confessed. In her car, they discovered more cards from Bed Bath and Beyond and Target.

"It was kind of convenience that they were there and she didn't think she'd be traced to it," said Laibach.

The bar's owner told 10News Sangerman was fired on the spot. They say she has already paid back the rest of the money to the newlyweds.

However, Sangerman faces charges of theft and commercial burglary. She was booked into the Vista jail but is free on bail.

10News contacted the newlyweds but they declined a request for an interview.

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