Contrell Alford of Akron pleaded guilty to the October 2012 theft from the fast-food restaurant in Bath.
He was sentenced to four years, 11 months in prison and won't be eligible for parole for at least two years, Police Chief Michael McNeely said.
McNeely gave these details:
Last Oct. 3, Alford told employees he was going to the bank to make a night deposit of the day's receipts.
But he called 911 from the bank, saying he'd been robbed of the cash.
He gave police a description of the robber. But officers also located someone wlse who had seen the robbery.
"We had a witness who gave us a completely different description of the individual," McNeely said.
When officers returned to McDonald's to question Alford, he ran from the store.
"It turned out the report was false," McNeely said.
It also turned out that Alford had failed to deposit McDonald's receipts from the previous few days, in violation of company policy, so that he had more than $20,000 in the bag that he reported stolen.
An investigation into the two other people involved in the incident continues, the chief said, with charges against one of the conspirators expected soon.
Since the theft in Bath, Alford was arrested on burglary charges in Akron and is already incarcerated, McNeely said. The nearly five-year sentence will be added to his current term.
McNeely credited the success of the case to "an excellent initial investigation" by Vito Sinopoli, who was then a police officer and is now the township administrator, and follow-up by Detectives Daniel Lance and David Ellinger and Lt. Richard Munsey.