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!”
PORTLAND OR Feb 18 2011 — Safeway officials say they have proof that a local couple stole more than $5 million in merchandise from stores in the Portland Metro area over the past several years.
Police arrested Richard Lavern Remington, 52, and Angela Rose Evans, 32, on Tuesday and the couple was arraigned in Multnomah County Circuit Court Wednesday.
The probable cause affidavit showed that Safeway began formally tracking the pair last November after suspicions surfaced they had been shoplifting.
Evans told police that the couple stole mostly common items like shampoos, razors, Rogaine, teeth whiteners, conditioners to batteries, DVDs and CDs, according to the affidavit, which also said that Remington stole DVDs on 22 different dates since November.
The court documents said that store surveillance cameras showed Remington involved in 103 thefts between Nov. 19 and Jan. 14, and that Evans was present in more than half of those incidents.
Investigators said the couple would go to several Safeway stores a day and shoplift. They actually used a shopping list for the thefts provided by a a suspect still being sought.
Safeway security officer Trent Drucker estimates that Remington stole $400,000 a year in merchandise over several years, totaling $5 million over the span of thefts.
On Nov. 19, Safeway security officials placed a tracking device on a van driven by the couple. Whenever the van was driven to a Safeway, surveillance videos were carefully scrutinized.
In the weeks following, Safeway officials created a spreadsheet of locations and thefts, which they presented to Portland police. The couple was arrested outside a Safeway store in Portland’s Woodstock neighborhood.
Both suspects remained in jail after their arraignment. Their next court appearance was scheduled for Feb. 25.
Remington had an outstanding felony parole violation. He was accused of organized retail theft and multiple first-degree theft charges.
Evans was also accused of organized retail theft and multiple counts of first-degree theft.