Racine police say a 23-year-old woman stole almost $500 worth of shoes from Payless Shoes in Regency Mall.

Meryn Pawluk, of Racine, was charged Wednesday in Racine County Circuit Court with eight counts of misdemeanor theft. If convicted, she faces up to six years in prison and/or up to $80,000 in fines.

According to the criminal complaint, a manager at Payless Shoes in January called police after they discovered an employee had been stealing from the store. They told officers that Pawluk would return merchandise using customer information and a serial number but would then keep the money from the fraudulent return. She also entered the products back into inventory without actually putting them back on the shelf. There were a total of eight fake returns between Nov. 20, 2015 and Jan. 20, 2016.

Pawluk was still in the Racine County Jail Wednesday night on a $400 signature bond and ordered to not have any contact with the store except for restitution purposes. She will next be in court March 23 for a pre-trial conference.

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