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Too Little Too Late: Man Arrested After Attempting to Pay for Shoplifted Liquor

12-Jan-2015

In general, it seems like a good idea to try to rectify your mistakes. It is a lesson thousands of children learn after taking a small toy or candy bar from a store, only to be marched back inside by their red-faced mothers and ordered to apologize to the store owner and pay for the theft. In these cases, the store owner typically acts stern and concerned, but laughs it off as soon as the merchandise is returned and the shamed child is out of the building.

For one Oklahoma City man, it did not quite turn out that way. Instead, it was too little too late.

Jason Sombath Heuangpaseuth of Oklahoma City is accused of stealing a bottle of scotch from Sam's Wholesale Liquor on NW 23rd Street on Friday. Unfortunately for Heuangpaseuth, his five-finger discount did not go undetected, and in fact, a store employee recognized him.

The employee began to send Facebook messages to Heuangpaseuth about the alleged incident. Whether the suspect felt guilty about shoplifiting a bottle of liquor or whether he was afraid of criminal prosecution, we may never know, but the man returned to the store the following evening in order to pay for the lifted scotch.

Instead of accepting payment and chuckling about it as if Heuangpaseuth were a small child, employees called police, who arrested him on a shoplifting complaint.

Maybe attempting to pay restitution for stolen merchandise will look good to a judge--or maybe it will be seen as nothing more than admission to a crime. Regardless, this man's attempt to right a wrong did not turn out the way he likely expected.

Heuangpaseuth has a prior criminal record which includes a prior conviction for second degree burglary when the man was only 18 years old. Initially, Heuangpaseuth was given a deferred sentence for the offense, but he violated the his deferred sentence, and prosecutors filed a motion to accelerate sentencing. He was convicted and sentenced to 7 years, with all but 2 years suspended.

Currently, Heuangpaseuth has a pending DUI case in Oklahoma County, in which he is charged with speeding, DUI, and operating a motorcycle without a valid Oklahoma driver's license with a motorcycle endorsement.

In Oklahoma, shoplifting and other forms of theft are prosecuted as larceny. State law defines larceny as "the taking of personal property accomplished by fraud or stealth, and with intent to deprive another thereof."

Larceny, like other theft crimes including embezzlement, is prosecuted and punished in accordance with the value of the property involved:

  • Grand larceny is the theft of property with a value exceeding $500 or the theft of property "taken from the person of another," even if its value is below $500.
  • Petit larceny is the theft of property with a value not exceeding $500.

Petit larceny is a misdemeanor, and it may be punishable by a fine as small as $10, or it could carry a potential term of 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $500. Grand larceny, on the other hand, is a felony. The maximum penalties for grand larceny include up to 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, and restitution to the victim.



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