PORTAGE — Stuffing a doughnut in her pocket and scooping slushie into her mouth, one woman allegedly dined and dashed on roller-grill hot dogs at a Luke gas station. After police tracked the suspect down at Denny's, the incident ended in a disorderly conduct arrest.
Starr Kuctha, 21, of Mishawaka, is accused of consuming two roller grill hot dogs, a doughnut, two candy bars and a fountain drink without paying, according to police reports.
At 6:28 p.m. Tuesday, police responded to a theft call from an employee at Luke gas station on U.S. 20 in Portage. A Luke gas station employee told police she saw a woman taking candy bars off the shelf and eating them.
When the employee confronted her, the woman said, “You can't arrest me!” and exited the store.
Kuctha allegedly began her buffet spree by removing a doughnut from the pastry display and stuffing it in her pocket, police reported after watching the gas station surveillance footage. She then began breaking off pieces and eating them from her pocket, footage showed.
Approaching the pop fountain, Kuctha filled a cup, sat it on a countertop and started "scooping slushie into her mouth from the cup," according to the police report. After the refreshment, she then set her sights on Luke gas station food.
“At 18:15 hours, she went to the roller grill and took two hot dogs, eventually eating them,” according to the police report.
Afterward, Kuctha allegedly took two candy bars off of the shelf and ate them, leaving the store without paying for the snacks and slushie, which amounted to $9.51.
By the time police arrived, Kuctha had already trekked to the nearby Denny's, taking asylum on a restaurant bench. When police questioned her, Kuctha allegedly told the officer a relative picked her up from jail that day and she was waiting at Denny's with her belongings for another ride.
As police continued to question her, she allegedly raised her voice and began cursing at the officer, who warned her against disorderly conduct, according to the police report.
However, Kuctha “stated she was not drunk, so could not be arrested for disorderly conduct,” the police report stated.
She then told police she took one sip of a slushie but dumped it, at which the responding officer asked her to stand up and place her hands behind her back to take her into custody.
“Over one (expletive) slushie. It was one (expletive) sip,” Kuctha allegedly said as she was arrested.
“(Kuctha) called me a (expletive) and yelled at me, stating I would be going to jail tonight because she is a lawyer and is going to arrest me because I cannot charge her with disorderly conduct because she was not drunk,” the officer wrote in the report.
Kuctha was charged with theft and disorderly conduct and was transported to Porter County Jail.
Anna Ortiz is the breaking news/crime reporter for The Times, covering crime, politics, courts, investigative news and more. She is a Region native and graduate of Ball State University with a major in journalism and minor in anthropology.
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