Papa John's shift manager reports fake robbery, Volusia deputies say

Justin Miller told deputies he was robbed at knifepoint

DeLAND, Fla. – A Papa John's shift manager was arrested by deputies after making a fake report about being robbed at knifepoint, the Volusia County Sheriff's Office said.

A 911 call made early Saturday sent more than a dozen deputies and DeLand police officers to the pizza business at 1129 North Woodland Blvd. near DeLand to establish a perimeter and launch a search for a fleeing robber. Deputies said the search included a K-9 unit and a Sheriff's Office helicopter.

Night shift manager Justin Miller, 24, told authorities that he was closing the business and was out back stacking trays when someone came up from behind him, stuck a pocket knife to his back and demanded his money.

Miller said he did not get a good look at the robber and did not hear much either because he was wearing headphones, deputies said. He struggled to provide the call-taker at the communications center with the alleged robber's description.

"He was maybe a couple inches taller than me," Miller told authorities. "I couldn’t really tell. It looked like he was wearing all black clothes -- maybe a hoodie and a ball cap. I couldn’t see his face."

Miller told authorities that he complied with the alleged robber's demands and turned over two deposit bags from the business that contained a total of $1,332.

The report sparked a 40-minute search by responding law enforcement officers, the Sheriff's Office said.

When no sign of a robber was found and deputies began to reinterview Miller, deputies said something did not seem right.

When Miller began exhibiting signs of deception, deputies managed to get the truth out of him, that there was no robbery, the Sheriff's Office said.

When deputies confronted Miller, he admitted what he had done. The Sheriff's Office said he led deputies through the rear door and to an outside chimney house just outside the pack porch, where he removed a concrete block from a stack, reached in and pulled out the two deposit bags with the missing money.

Miller was charged with grand theft, giving false information to law enforcement and making a false report of a crime. Deputies said he was booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach, where he was being held in lieu of $3,500 bail.