A manager fired from a recently opened restaurant and bar in the northwest metro kept a key to the business and stole the restaurant's new TVs, booze, a safe and thousands of dollars in cash, authorities said.

But his burglary scheme was foiled once he tried to unload the TVs at a nearby Target, where an employee of the restaurant kept a second job and provided the link that led to the suspect's arrest, the Sherburne County Sheriff's Office said.

According to the Sheriff's Office, operators of the Whistling Pickle restaurant in Zimmerman reported a break-in Monday that involved four TVs, liquor, a safe and more than $3,300 in cash taken.

Later that day, a 38-year-old man attempted to return the flat-screen televisions, still in the box, to the Target in Otsego.

When a Target employee heard about the man with the TVs, she "put two and two together" and told authorities of her suspicion that they were from the Whistling Pickle, where she also worked, said Sheriff's Capt. Scott Fieldes.

The restaurant owner watched the store surveillance video and identified the man with the TVs as his former manager. Investigators showed up Wednesday at the man's home in Zimmerman and located the TVs, the safe, liquor bottles and some cash. The man was arrested on suspicion of third-degree burglary and possession of stolen property.

Paul Walsh