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Branch County Circuit Court Judge Bill O’Grady exceeded court guide­lines by imposing a 20 – 30 month sen­tence after a Hillsdale County family was arrested for mul­tiple theft attempts in November 2016.

Tamera Karpanai, 50, along with her two daughters and three grand­children, were charged with first-degree retail fraud, orga­nized retail fraud, and con­spiracy to commit orga­nized retail fraud after attempting to steal from Meijer and Walmart during the department stores’ annual Black Friday sales.

Police said Walmart security watched as the group took iPads, laptops and other items to an iso­lated area where they removed the security cases and stuffed the items in a bag. Security saw the adults pass items to the children on the store’s security video.

When security tried to stop the group, they ran and left the bag of items behind.

Karpanai, a fourth-time habitual offender, has a “stag­gering record,” according to O’Grady. Branch County Dis­trict Court Judge Brent Weigle pointed out that Karpanai had 25 prior theft con­vic­tions alone.

O’Grady pointed to these past theft con­vic­tions during her sen­tencing, and noted court prece­dents cannot account for extensive repeat offenses.

Karpanai was once arrested for theft in 2012 after she cut the security cable of a large $1,200 tele­vision using bolt cutters from Meijer’s tool section, and walked away from the store.

Karpanai is cur­rently being held in the Branch County Sheriff’s Office’s jail, and will con­tinue to serve her sen­tence there until her next hearing.