Lebanon County PA Nov 13 2017 As the fifth and final codefendant in a Victoria's Secret robbery spree pleaded guilty before him Thursday, Judge Patrick T. Barrett said he was still baffled by the case.
"I've heard these facts so many times now I can almost recite them," the judge said to Lyric McLaughlin. "It's so callous on the part of you and everyone else involved and incredible to me that you had the gall to do what you did."
Barrett sentenced McLaughlin, the alleged ringleader of the plan to steal lingerie and then sell it on Instagram, to one to five years in state prison, as requested by Assistant District Attorney Jason C. Glessner. The sentence is longer than what McLaughlin's four codefendants received when they entered pleas at various times within the last month.
"I think they're being very fair," Barrett said. "You can cry as much as you want, but I think one to five is fair."
McLaughlin, 21, of Baltimore entered open guilty pleas to robbery and conspiracy to commit retail theft for a heist at the Berkshire Mall on May 19 and to retail theft and conspiracy for a nearly identical crime at a Lebanon County mall earlier that day.
She will receive credit for 155 days, and her state prison term will be followed by five years of probation.
The new sentence will run at the same time as the six- to 23-month term she received in York County after pleading guilty Oct. 16 to organized retail theft and conspiracy in three cases. According to online court records, the thefts occurred in York County on March 16 and 22, and April 5.
McLaughlin apologized to her grandparents and to Barrett, saying she was sorry for wasting his time. She said she hopes to go back to school once she is released.
Defense attorney Catherine J. Nadirov said McLaughlin had been living with her grandmother prior to the thefts, but became homeless when her grandmother became ill and went on life support,
Nadirov asked for a sentence of 111/2 to 23 months in Berks County Prison, arguing that McLaughlin was not the ringleader and not the getaway driver who led police on a high-speed chase on Route 222.
"She doesn't have a criminal mind to contrive all of this," Nadirov said. "I have no doubt she was scared out of her mind, just as she is here today."
Glessner argued McLaughlin's prior record, which included two felony thefts in Baltimore, proved otherwise.
"Miss McLaughlin is no stranger to the criminal justice system," he said. "She likes to steal."
McLaughlin's pleas close out the Victoria's Secret robbery cases.
Deonte J. Griffin, 24, pleaded guilty last week and was sentenced to 111/2 to 23 months in Berks County Prison followed by five years of probation.
The other three codefendents entered pleas in October. Getaway driver Justin Inman, 24, was sentenced to nine months to five years in state prison followed by two years of probation. James E. McCarter Jr., 19, and Twanika D. Greer, 24, were each sentenced to six to 23 months in Berks County Prison followed by three years of probation.
Greer faces robbery and retail theft charges in Lehigh County for an April 2 robbery at the Victoria's Secret at the South Mall in Salisbury Township.
All of the defendants are from Baltimore.
According to authorities:
Four people entered the Victoria's Secret store at the Berkshire Mall in Wyomissing about 4:50 p.m. and started packing lingerie into bags.
Employees confronted the suspects, but were threatened with mace. Police said that McLaughlin shoved an employee who told her to stop.
The group stole 70 items valued at about $3,000 before running to the parking lot, where Inman was waiting in a car with Maryland license plates.
The car was later spotted by Spring Township police traveling south on Route 222 and a chase ensued. Police followed the robbers as they exited Route 222 at Mohnton.
They then drove into a cul-de-sac, where the suspects jumped from the car to run.
Two of them were chased by police. Two others were found hiding under a deck. McLaughlin eluded capture for about four hours before a neighborhood resident spotted her leaving a wooded area.
The chase involved officers from eight police departments, including K-9 officers from Spring, Exeter and Lower Heidelberg townships. The Berks County sheriff's office and a state police helicopter also assisted.
Following the Berks investigation, the group was charged in the Lebanon County case.
Authorities said that the group entered the Victoria's Secret in the Lebanon Valley Mall in North Lebanon Township and began pulling merchandise from racks. When an employee approached, Griffin told her to "stay back."
They filled up trash bags with 88 items, worth more than $3,000, before fleeing. The merchandise from both incidents was recovered.