Felony charges follow shoplifting arrest
A woman out on bond for meth charges is back in jail on a $2,500 cash bail.
Stephanie A. Pingel, 25, Waupaca, is charged with retail theft, resisting an officer and two counts of felony bail jumping.
On Saturday, April 29, Waupaca Police Officers Bret Rodenz and Nicole Hahn were dispatched to the Holiday Station on Badger Street in response to a shoplifting complaint.
Hahn arrived first and met Pingel outside the store. She questioned Pingel about the complaint and asked if she had any merchandise in her purse or pockets.
Pingel said she had an energy drink that she purchased in the store.
Rodenz went into the store and spoke with a clerk, who said she saw Pingel come into the store, take a sandwich from the cooler and conceal it in her purse or coat.
The clerk said Pingel only purchased an energy drink.
According to the criminal complaint, Pingel spent nearly 45 minutes in the convenience store the prior day, much of that time in the bathroom where the clerk suspected Pingel had eaten some merchandise.
Rodenz then went back outside and spoke to Pingel.
The officer said he believed she had taken a sandwich from the store. He told Pingel that if she admitted to it, she would face only a city ordinance violation rather than a criminal charge.
While Rodenz and Hahn were questioning Pingel, they repeatedly told her to keep her hands out of her pockets.
Pingel also refused repeated requests to look inside her purse, the complaint says.
She then opened her energy drink and began drinking it.
Rodenz told Pingel to put the energy drink and her purse down on the ground. She refused.
As the encounter became increasingly adverse, Rodenz saw merchandise inside of the purse and tried to take it from her.
Pingel pulled away, struggled and Rodenz attempted to control her by pushing her against the wall, the complaint says.
Eventually, both officers forced Pingel to the ground, each one of them trying to hold an arm, while a clerk and a customer held Pingel by her legs.
Waupaca County Sheriff’s Deputy Clint Thobaben arrived to assist.
While Thobaben held Pingel by her right arm, Rodenz held her by her left and Hahn handcuffed her.
During the struggle to arrest her, Pingel said she could not breathe, so an ambulance was called to check on her.
Rodenz later found Pingel’s cellphone, shoes and her purse, which was open. Inside the purse were a sandwich, bean and rice bowl and a pint of milk, all together worth more than $10.
Pingel was previously charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana on March 7 and charged with the same crimes again on March 15.
She was released from custody on April 11 after posting $500 cash bail.