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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

Friday, June 5, 2015

Stillwater Man Sentenced For Role In Large Shoplifting Ring

CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE:  (716) 843-5817
FAX #:                 (716) 551-3051
BUFFALO, N.Y.--U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Terry Stewart, 35, of Stillwater, NY, who was convicted of engaging in a racketeering conspiracy, was sentenced to 55 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Richard J Arcara. The defendant was also ordered to pay $671,183.25 in restitution to retail chains.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony M. Bruce, who handled the case, Stewart was part of an organized shoplifting ring that stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in merchandise, including breast pumps, whitening strips, cross stitch and needlepoint kits, electric toothbrushes, thumb drives, pet supplements, razors, and tool sets from big box stores such as Walmart, Sears, Home Depot, JoAnn Fabrics, Tops and Wegmans. The merchandise was then sold to co-defendant Rico Vendetti for 25¢ on the dollar. The merchandise was then sold by Vendetti on eBay for about half of its retail value, primarily to out-of-state customers. The defendant alone supplied Vendetti with about $700,000 in stolen merchandise over a period of several years.

Rico Vendetti was arrested along with Arlene Combs, Albert Parsons, and Donald Griffin, all of Rochester, NY, an charged with the felony murder in the death of 78-year old Homer Marciniak during the course of a home invasion robbery at Marciniak’s home in Medina, NY in July, 2010. Vendetti has been convicted for his role in the murder and is awaiting sentencing.

Also charged in the case are Brandon Meade and Dayon. Meade has been convicted. Charges are pending against defendants Shaver, Combs, Parsons, and Griffin. The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

The sentencing is the result of an investigation on the part of Special Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Craig Hanesworth, the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department, under the direction of Sheriff Scott Hess, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Patrick O’Flynn, the Medina Police Department, under the direction of Chief Jose Avila and Officers from the Rochester Police Department, under the direction of Chief Michael Ciminelli.

Updated June 8, 2015