Charges: Minnetonka Nordstrom employee stole $500K of merchandise to sell online

A former employee of Nordstrom at Ridgedale Center in Minnetonka is accused of a scheme in which he allegedly stole merchandise while working and then sold the goods online for profit. 

The Minnetonka Police Department said Wednesday officers arrested Denis Palamarchuk, 47, of Minnetonka, and his ex-wife, a 48-year-old Plymouth woman, on May 4 after searching a Plymouth home, where detectives found about $500,000 in stolen merchandise that included high-end purses, shoes and clothing, according to a criminal complaint filed May 6. 

Police also recovered more than $46,000 in cash, apparent proceeds from selling the stolen goods. At the time of the arrest, the couple had 215 postings on their eBay account, police said in a news release.

Palamarchuk is charged with felony theft. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance on July 5. 

Nordstrom Asset Protection employees in April began investigating high-end items missing from the loading dock area, where items are placed daily for outgoing shipments, the complaint states. Store employees reviewed surveillance video, which appeared to show Palamarchuk blocking the high-end clothing shelf from view, and moving the security cameras several times.

Palamarchuk would then leave through the loading dock door instead of the employee door, which was against store policy, and drive his vehicle to the loading dock door, the complaint said. Cameras then captured him leaving with boxes, which he loaded in his car. 

As as part of the investigation Nordstrom employees put a covert camera in an office that captured Palamarchuk packaging store items into a box and putting them into his car, the complaint said. Employees identified the stolen items and confronted him as he was leaving. He admitted to having two stolen high-end bags at the apartment where he was staying, and that they were currently listed for sale on Craigslist.

Palamarchuk admitted to investigators he stole approximately 20 items, the complaint said. He said he put the stolen purses into black plastic bags and hid them in the rafters of the underground garage at the apartment where he was staying while he was getting divorced. 

He started stealing items to pay his bills because of a pay decrease, he said, the complaint states.

According to the charges, Palamarchuk's ex-wife admitted to police she knew Palamarchuk was selling items from Nordstrom, adding she was helping him sell the items. She is named as a co-defendant in the case, but it's unclear if she has been charged.