Former Olathe BBQ owner gets prison for spending sprees with customer credit cards

Matthew Sander
Matthew Sander

The former owner of an Olathe barbeque restaurant was sentenced Wednesday to serve one year and one month in prison for a string of financial crimes involving customers’ credit cards.

Matthew R. Sander, who owned Smokin’ Joe’s Bar-B-Q, pleaded guilty in November to multiple charges including identity theft and criminal use of a credit card.

Sander, 55, was plagued by a “significant drug and alcohol problem” that he has since addressed, according to court documents filed by his attorney.

The crimes saw Sander going on spending binges with credit cards that customers left behind at the restaurant. In one case, Sander took a woman’s purse from the bar of an Overland Park restaurant and used her debit card.

Besides the term behind bars, Sander was ordered Wednesday to pay restitution of $11,400.

After his release from prison, he will be on probation for 18 months. As a condition of probation he was ordered to stay away from Walmart, Home Depot, Kohls and Sam’s Club stores.

The restaurant, a longtime fixture in Olathe, has a new owner who said Sander is no longer affiliated with the business.

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Tony Rizzo covers federal and state courts for The Kansas City Star, where he has been a reporter for more than 30 years. He is a Kansas City native and veteran of the U.S. Army.