Portland OR May 20 2012 A prolific shoplifter who stole thousands of dollars in merchandise from multiple Safeways across the metro area was sentenced to four years in prison Friday.
Though he agreed to a plea deal, Richard Lavern Remington, 58, was anything but agreeable in a Multnomah County Circuit courtroom, blurting out objections when the prosecutor and Safeway investigator described his crimes.
Remington faced 45 counts of first-degree theft and organized theft. He pleaded no contest to 12 counts of first-degree theft and to organized retail theft under the plea arrangement.
“Mr. Remington has been a professional shoplifter, booster in retail for better than a decade,” said Trent Drucker, Safeway senior investigator of organized retail theft.
As Drucker addressed Judge Youlee Yim You, Remington yelled out, “That’s funny, I’ve been in prison for four of those years out of that.”
Later, he interrupted prosecutor Charles Mickley, saying, “That’s not true!” as Mickley described how Safeway investigators spent three weeks going through hours of video surveillance images that caught Remington stealing from multiple stores.
Upon arrest, Safeway officials estimated Remington and his girlfriend had stolen more than $5 million from multiple retailers over a decade-long period. But he wasn’t charged with all those suspected thefts, and Remington reminded the court of that.
“It’s helluva price short of $5 million,” Remington blurted out.
Safeway officials had tied Remington to 103 thefts between November 2010 and January 2011 and estimated their retail loss was $7,707.62 during that period. Of those, 67 occurred in stores in Multnomah County and 36 in Clackamas County.
His girlfriend, Angela Rose Evans, 34, had been previously convicted and sentenced to 40 months in prison.
The pair were stopped in October 2010 by Fairview police with a suitcase full of merchandise from five different Safeway stores.
Investigators found they drove to several stores on the same day in a white van and walked out with everything from shampoos, razors and Rogaine to batteries, DVDs and CDs stuffed in their pockets and coats. His girlfriend told police that Remington would sell the stolen DVDs to pawn shops.
“He’d work 11, 12 hour days, seven days a week,” said Rick Whidden, director of loss prevention for Safeway in Oregon and Southwest Washington.
Just catching Remington on basic shoplifting charges didn’t work, because he “continues to come back to our stores” and steal, Drucker told the court.
“And I’ll keep on continuing,” muttered Remington, seated beside his defense attorney.
Remington had at least six prior second-degree theft convictions between 2001 and 2007.
Remington’s lawyer, Stuart Sugarman, said his client has been a model prisoner and believes he intends to change.
“I believe he’ll stay away from Safeway, and stay away from his former lifestyle,” Sugarman said.
Remington was ordered to pay $20,000 to Safeway, and not return to the store again.
If he does, his probation will be revoked and he’ll automatically face another 63 months behind bars.
Yet on Friday, he didn’t seem deterred.
As a deputy sheriff led him out of the courtroom, Remington looked toward the Safeway officials in the courtoom, and said, “I’ll be back!”