Members of shoplifting ring get probation

A convicted felon who participated in a theft ring that targeted Lowe’s pleaded guilty in an Indiana court on Dec. 6 to a single charge of corrupt business influence, according to an article in The Journal Gazette

Russell Craeger, 41, faces two years of probation when he is sentenced next week. Authorities said he was part of a shoplifting ring that made 381 fraudulent returns to Lowe’s stores in 11 states. The individuals would make returns without receipts by switching bar codes on previously purchased items. Members of the group also made their own, lower-priced bar codes for similar, more expensive items.

The suspects would then obtain gift cards in amounts greater than what they had paid for the items. They used altered identification cards to get around Lowe's policy limiting the number of returns during a specific time, according to court documents.

Other members of the shoplifting ring include Vanessa Jamison, 33, who pled guilty to a single charge of theft. She was given a three-year suspended prison and three years of probation. Jamison has been ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution.

Katoya Lipscomb, 30, received a four-year suspended prison sentence and was ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution and serve four years on probation, She also pleaded guilty to corrupt business influence, according to court records.

James Bennett, 41, was sentenced to six years in prison, with three years suspended, and ordered to pay $75,000 in restitution after entering a guilty plea to corrupt business influence. He will spend three years on probation, according to court records.

David Height, whom authorities describe as the ringleader, was given a four-year prison sentence, which was suspended, and ordered to be served on probation. The 57-year-old had pleaded guilty to charges of corrupt business influence and theft. He was also ordered to pay $75,000 in restitution to Lowe's.

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