Couple steals thousands of dollars from EC Festival Foods store

Jan. 28 – EAU CLAIRE – A current employee and a former employee stole thousands of dollars through various methods 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 charged in Eau Claire County Court with counts of retail theft and manufacturing false. Hurd is charged with participating in a crime.

Hurd and Polencheck are due to make their first court appearances on February 7 and 14, respectively.

According to the criminal complaint:

A police officer from Eau Claire was dispatched to Festival Foods, 2615 N. Clairemont Ave., on December 19 regarding a series of robberies at the store. He met with an asset protection specialist and Hurd.

Hurd admitted that she and Polencheck, her boyfriend, stole groceries from the store about 30 times.

Hurd said she felt pressured to help Polencheck, who she had been dating for a month, and didn’t know how to say no.

Hurd told the agent that she and her co-workers may have canceled transactions on items and then left 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 would allow a person to void transactions, was still active.

The asset protection specialist viewed video footage of Polencheck repeatedly using his badge to reverse transactions and walk away with those errands without paying for them. There was also video footage of Hurd helping Polencheck with many of those canceled transactions.

Eleven of these canceled transactions took place from November 16 to December 16, totaling $3,630 in stolen groceries.

The asset protection specialist told the officer that there were also a few transactions in which Hurd made returns without a receipt for Polencheck by giving him cash on items he had selected from the shelves. stores but that he had never bought. These happened three times in November, resulting in a total theft of $315.

The asset protection specialist also had surveillance photos from December 18 showing Polencheck bringing two counterfeit $100 bills and passing them to Hurd, who processed the counterfeit money into real bills in smaller denominations than she then returned to Polencheck.

Hurd also repeatedly used its employee discount card, which gave 10% off purchases, for store customers. Hurd used the card 46 times for customers from Nov. 11 to Dec. 18, resulting in a loss of $407 for the store.

The total loss suffered by the Festival Foods store as a result of the actions of Hurd and Polencheck amounted to $4,351.

If convicted of the charges, Polencheck and Hurd could each face up to four years in prison.

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