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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

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       The Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals has upheld the 2017 conviction of a man for the theft of jewelry and other merchandise from the Meijer store in Oregon.

        Rico L. Wright, who had agreed to plea guilty to one count of petty theft after being indicted for grand theft, challenged the trial court’s order to pay $29,549 in restitution to Meijer.

        Wright argued the Lucas County Common Pleas Court erred in the amount of the restitution order and in imposing the restitution without a finding that he was able to pay that amount.

        He also alleged his legal counsel was ineffective due to the failure to object to the amount.

        According to court records, Wright and an accomplice stole approximately $60,000 worth of jewelry and liquor and houseware merchandise from the store.

        Wright was sentenced to 180 days in jail but was given credit for 15 days served and the balance was suspended.

        Video surveillance shows the two men hunched behind the jewelry counter with a crowbar at about 4:50 a.m. on July 24, 2009. Oregon police responded to the call and were able to recover two fingerprints from the scene which matched the prints of the accomplice in a criminal database.

        Wright was indicted Sept. 22, 2009 but didn’t appear for his arraignment. He was arrested out of state eight years later on a warrant.

        The appeals court ruled the trial court had wide latitude in setting the restitution amount “so long as it does not exceed the amount of economic loss suffered as a direct and proximate result of the commission of the offense.”

        The appeals court also rejected Wright’s argument the lower court didn’t properly assess his ability to meet the restitution order.

        “The record reflects that appellant (Wright) was 28-years-old at the time of sentencing, had earned a college degree and was consistently employed as a mechanic. Appellant’s ability to pay was properly supported by the evidence,” the appeals court decision says.

       

 

 

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