An employee at the Winn-Dixie store in Dunnellon was arrested Wednesday after he admitted to putting false UPC codes on packages of meat and paying the lower prices at the self-checkout register.
Roice Dean Brenay, 27, of 13591 SW 102nd Place in Dunnellon, was charged with committing fraud to obtain property valued at under $20,000.
A Marion County sheriff’s deputy responded to the store, located at 10051 S. U.S. Hwy. 41, where a regional asset protection manager said he discovered during an internal audit that Brenay, who works in the meat department as a clerk had been undervaluing meat products over the course of several months, according to the sheriff’s office report.
The manager said on each occasion, Brenay would gather several packaged meats. He would then place a light-weighted item – usually a paper item or box of gloves – onto the scale, which calculates the price based on the weight, and use the weight of the lighter item to generate a price significantly lower than the actual value of the meat, the report said.
The manager said Brenay would then check the items out at the self-checkout register. On at least two occasions, he undervalued the meat items, placed them in a cart and gave them to a co-worker to check out at a significantly discounted price, according to the report.
The manager said when he confronted Brenay about the fraudulent transactions, Brenay admitted to the fraud and provided a written statement stating he had been discounting meat for himself and another employee since the beginning of 2020. He gave the name of the other employee, but no charges have been filed against her at this point, the report said.
After being read his Miranda warning, Brenay told the deputy he had been undervaluing meat products for about a year. He said he usually gets several packaged meats and places UPC labels containing fraudulent prices on them. Brenay said he would typically grab a box of gloves, weigh them on the pricing scale to create a lower value on the label, and then go to the self-checkout register and pay for the undervalued items. He said he would take the meat home and put it in his freezer for personal use, according to the report.
The manager showed the deputy copies of several receipts that showed significantly low amounts of weight (generally around 0.12 pounds) for meat products that weighed at least one pound. The transactions were dated Oct. 11, Dec. 10, Dec. 11, Dec. 24, and Dec. 30. The manager said the minimum value that was stolen from the store was $520, the report said.
Brenay was arrested and taken to the Marion County Jail, where he was released on Thursday.