Professional Shoplifter Sentenced to Federal Prison
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 12, 2012|
PORTLAND, OR—U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman today sentenced John Patrick Weismiller, 41, of Woodburn, Oregon, to 12 months and one day in prison, to be followed by three years’ supervised release, for shoplifting from area retail stores and selling the stolen merchandise on eBay. Judge Mosman ordered Weismiller to pay $20,961.97 in restitution to Safeway, Target, and Albertsons. Representatives from Safeway, Target, Fred Meyer, and Albertsons attended today’s sentencing hearing.
“This defendant victimized not only local stores, but also their customers, who end up paying higher prices as a result of professional shoplifters,” said U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall. “Organized retail crime is a serious offense, and we will continue to prosecute, convict, and seek prison time for those who make a living by stealing from others.”
In January 2012, Weismiller pleaded guilty to one count of interstate transportation of stolen property. He admitted that beginning in January 2011 and continuing through July 2011, he repeatedly traveled from his Woodburn residence to various retail stores throughout the District of Oregon, including Safeway, Target, and Best Buy. He shoplifted, or “boosted,” large quantities of merchandise from these stores, including over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, health and beauty products, and other merchandise. He then sold the stolen merchandise, usually on eBay, and usually at a price below the normal retail value of the merchandise. He received payment for the stolen merchandise from his eBay customers, usually via PayPal. After receiving payment, he shipped the stolen merchandise, usually via the United States Postal Service, from Oregon to his eBay customers located across the United States.
“Law abiding citizens bear the cost burden of organized retail theft every time they make a purchase, paying a higher cost for goods than they would otherwise,” said Greg Fowler, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon. “The FBI and its retail partners work to disrupt these groups by identifying and investigating the most egregious offenders and insuring they are held to account.”
At the sentencing hearing, the government presented evidence that Safeway documented Weismiller stealing merchandise from its stores 105 times in early 2011. Despite being stopped by Safeway loss prevention personnel and forbidden to return to Safeway stores in July 2011, Safeway observed Weismiller shoplifting at a different Safeway store just two days later. The government also presented defendant’s eBay history, which showed that he had listed 6,681 items for sale on the auction site between May 2006 and May 2011, including hundreds of packages of Crest Whitestrips.
This case stemmed from an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacie Beckerman.