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.