BARRE — A Duxbury woman is accused of embezzling from Village Grocery & Deli in Waitsfield.

Sherri J. Russell, 46, pleaded not guilty Thursday in Washington County criminal court in Barre to felony counts of embezzlement and grand larceny. If convicted, Russell faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. She was released on conditions.

Trooper Isaac Merriam, of the Vermont State Police, said in his affidavit on Feb. 15 he met with the owner of the store who told him Russell had been an employee and had stolen from the business. The owner told Merriam on Feb. 12 he noticed excessive amounts of voided items from the night before. Merriam said the owner reported Russell was working at the store on the night of Feb. 11 and he confronted her about the voided items.

The owner told Merriam Russell told him she was in financial trouble and had taken $326 from voided sales. Merriam said the owner offered Russell a “second start” and loaned her $675.

The owner reported he watched the store’s surveillance cameras on Feb. 13 and saw someone at the register with a large amount of groceries that should have totaled $40, according to court records. Merriam said the owner looked into the transaction and saw only $20 was charged. The owner told Merriam he looked into it more and discovered Russell had voided more than $900 in sales over the past 11 days.

Merriam said he met with Russell on March 21 and she told him she knew what he wanted to talk about and she was relieved to get it over with. He said Russell admitted to stealing from the store. Russell told Merriam she would pocket money when people paid for beer with cash, according to court records.

Merriam said Russell told him she would ring up the sale, take the cash, give back any change and then void the sale while taking the money when the customer wasn’t paying attention.

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