Salem OR Dec 20 2016 A Salem man was sentenced to three years and eight months in prison and his wife was sentenced to probation for their role in a multi-thousand dollar shoplifting ring.
Michael Rascon, 40, and Maria Rojas, 35, were arrested in May on charges of unlawful racketeering, money laundering, attempted organized retail theft and first-degree theft by receiving.
The couple each pleaded guilty to racketeering and four counts of first-degree theft and were sentenced Monday.
The Northwest Organized Retail Crime Alliance investigated the couple, who officials thought were buying and selling stolen beauty products and clothing. The alliance is made up of investigators with Fred Meyer, Safeway/Albertsons and Target Organized Retail Crime Units.
KOIN 6 News reported Rascon and Rojas were "selling stolen items online, buying stolen merchandise and even had 'shopping lists' of things that they wanted stolen so they could turn around and sell."
Undercover investigators made seven purchases, totaling more than $11,000, from the couple with a retail value of more than $37,000, according to a news release.
After the purchases, investigators notified Salem Police Department of their findings. Detectives served a search warrant in the 100 block of Connecticut Avenue SE, Birr said. A large amount of new retail items still in their original packaging was located at the residence.
"They were directing people to shoplift specific things for them," Salem police Lt. Steve Birr said after the couple's arrest.
Rascon is also listed on Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles list of sanction dealers. He was fined $17,500 for seven counts of acting as a vehicle dealer without a current dealer certificate.
Following his sentencing Monday, Rascon was transported to into the custody of the Oregon Department of Corrections. Rojas was ordered to report to Marion County Parole and Probation and participate in the Family Alternative Sentencing Pilot Program, a program designed to divert parents of minor children away from prison by enabling them to serve their sentence in the community under supervision.
The couple was ordered to pay an undetermined amount of restitution for their thefts.