Emily Welker, Published June 25 2013
Fargo Taco Bell worker accused of groping drive-thru customers
Austin James Brady, 20, is scheduled to appear today in Cass County District Court on charges linked to the allegations, one of which is a felony.
Brady denied assaulting the women and told police that in one of the incidents, the customers demanded he give them free food, according to court records.
According to court documents filed in the case, a woman told police she was at the Taco Bell drive-thru at 2121 S. University Drive just after 2 a.m. on April 12, driving home two intoxicated friends.
The woman told police a restaurant worker later identified as Brady told her to pull out of the line because her food was not ready. When he delivered the food, she told police he said, “Oh, you’re so pretty,” while reaching in the car to squeeze her breast with one hand while handing her the food with the other.
The driver said one of her passengers could see what Brady was doing and yelled at her to leave. She put the car in reverse and left the Taco Bell.
When the woman told a roommate about the incident, the roommate reported experiencing a similar incident occurring at the same Taco Bell about a month earlier, also around closing time.
In that incident, a worker police later identified as Brady also told women ordering food in the drive-thru that their food wasn’t ready and asked them to pull out of line.
When Brady delivered the food to the female driver, she claimed to police, he got in the backseat and reached over the seat to squeeze her breasts.
When a passenger was interviewed by police, she told them that Brady had asked them what the two women in the car were going to be doing later and if they liked to “party.”
When Brady touched the driver, the passenger said they both told him to get out of the car. She said that Brady told them, “I gave you free food because you’re so pretty,” and that he would provide more free food if the girls would party with him.
Police charged Brady on June 11 with one count of Class C felony unlawful entry into a vehicle in connection with the March incident and one count of Class B misdemeanor sexual assault linked to the April allegations. An arrest warrant was issued after the charges were filed.
A police report states an officer was able to identify the suspect with the help of a Taco Bell manager.
The manager said while he was searching through restaurant surveillance video, he was approached by Brady, who said that the women in the April 12 incident had propositioned him for free food. He told the manager the women were only partially dressed, and that the driver had her breasts exposed.
Brady provided a written statement to police denying groping the women, claiming they threw a pen at him and demanded free food. He said he gave them a quesadilla to get them to leave.
Another employee of Taco Bell told police he saw Brady once sit in a drive-thru customer’s car in the parking lot, smoking marijuana with its occupants. The same worker told police he believed Brady had no reason to ask the women to pull the car around April 12, and that he believed Brady did so for “personal reasons.”
Another employee told police she could hear loud, drunken females in the drive-thru, and that Brady had told her they had demanded free food and thrown a marker at him.
The manager at the Taco Bell said he could not comment on the case, including whether Brady was still employed there.
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Readers can reach Forum reporter Emily Welker at (701) 241-5541