Last updated: August 25. 2013 4:20AM - 2040 Views

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LIMA — Tim Bart seemed like a man with everything. He was the manager of a large store and made $100,000 a year.

Turns out that wasn’t enough, which led Bart to steal $22,155 from his employer. The theft cost him everything he worked for in life and nearly cost him his freedom.

Bart, 58, walked out of an Allen County courtroom Thursday a free man after Judge Davie Cheney sentenced him to two years probation and ordered him to pay back the money he stole. He also was given a 90-day suspended jail sentence and has a year in prison hanging over his head should he get in trouble.

Bart has another chance at life, but it won’t be easy. He’s now employed as a server at a local restaurant and is trying to care for a wife with cancer. He’s also in debt with the Internal Revenue Service for $150,000.

All a far cry from where he once was.

Bart told Cheney he was determined to make it while apologizing to his former employer and everyone in his life he let down.

“I kick my self every day, and I ask why. There’s no reasons. No excuses,” Bart said. “Every day in life, we have choices to make. Right and wrong, bad or good, and I made the wrong choice.”

Despite his lucrative job, Bart found himself in over his head borrowing money from one cash advance place to pay another. He was sinking and came up with a plan: He took $22,155 from Menards. Bart wanted to pay it back with a bonus, his attorney said, but his scam was discovered before that time.

Bart used other workers to process returns for him in a plot to pocket thousands of dollars in bogus returns. They were instructed to leave the money in an envelope so it would be ready when the customer came back with the item. But there were no customers returning items, a detective said.

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