Jan. 28 – EAU CLAIRE – A current employee and a former employee variously stole thousands of dollars from an Eau Claire Festival Foods store, police say.
Deanna M. Hurd, 45, 2816 May St., and Troy D. Polencheck, 37, 2025 Mittelstadt Lane, are each facing felony charges of shoplifting and expressing a forgery in Eau Claire County Court. Hurd is being charged as party to a crime.
Hurd and Polencheck will appear in court on February 7 and February 14, respectively.
According to the criminal indictment:
An Eau Claire police officer was taken to Festival Foods, 2615 N. Clairemont Ave. on December 19. sent in connection with a series of thefts at the store. He met with an asset protection specialist and Hurd.
Hurd admitted that she and Polencheck, her boyfriend, had stolen groceries from the store about 30 times.
Hurd said she felt pressured to help Polandcheck, whom she had been dating for the past month, and didn’t know how to say no.
Hurd told the officer that she and colleagues could cancel transactions involving items and then leave the store with those items without paying for them.
Hurd said Polencheck had worked at Festival Foods a few months earlier, but his self-checkout badge, which allowed someone to cancel transactions, was still active.
The asset protection specialist viewed video footage of Polencheck repeatedly using his badge to cancel transactions and leave with those messages without paying for them. There was also video footage of Hurd assisting Polencheck with many of these canceled transactions.
Eleven such canceled transactions occurred from November 16 to December 16, for a total of $3,630 in stolen groceries.
The asset protection specialist told the officer there were also a few transactions where Hurd made returnless returns for Polencheck by giving him cash for items he had selected from store shelves but never purchased. Those occurred three times in November, resulting in a total theft of $315.
The asset protection specialist also had surveillance photos from Dec. 18 showing Polencheck bringing in two counterfeit $100 bills and passing them to Hurd, who then converted the counterfeit money into genuine smaller denomination bills which then returned them to Polencheck.
Hurd also repeatedly used its employee discount card, which granted 10% off purchases, for retail customers. Hurd used the card 46 times for customers from Nov. 11 to Dec. 18, resulting in a $407 loss for the store.
The total loss to the Festival Foods store from Hurd and Polencheck’s actions was $4,351.
If Polandcheck and Hurd are convicted of the charges, they could each face up to four years in prison.