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Rahway mayoral candidate found guilty of shoplifting

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(MaryAnn Spoto/The Star-Ledger)
MaryAnn Spoto/The Star-Ledger By MaryAnn Spoto/The Star-Ledger The Star-Ledger
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on April 28, 2014 at 7:21 PM
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LINDEN — Rahway mayoral candidate James Devine was found guilty tonight of stealing more than $20 worth of items from a city grocery store.

Municipal Court Judge Cassandra Corbett found that Devine intentionally concealed two bags of prewashed lettuce, a protein supplement and hair conditioner on a July 19, 2013, trip to the local ShopRite without planning to pay for them.

“I do find that Mr. Devine…did conceal the items… and so I therefore find Mr. Devine guilty of shoplifting,” she said.

After court, Devine vowed to appeal, saying the surveillance video tape of the incident shows he didn’t intentionally conceal the $22.47 worth of items.

He called the ruling “ludicrous.”

“It’s a miscarriage of justice that I find inexplicable,” he said.

Corbett could have sentenced him to jail time or community service, but because it was his first shoplifting offense, she said she would fine him $200. She also imposed another $158 in court costs and fees.

Corbett said Devine had the items in a Pathmark shopping bag and was convinced that he didn’t plan to pay for them because they were on the side of the cashier’s conveyor belt that holds items for which customers were already charged.

She said the videotape shows him checking his receipt, putting it in his wallet and walking out the first set of doors before he was confronted by a security officer.

But Devine said the cashier moved the bag of items to the other side of the conveyor belt without scanning them while he was distracted looking through his coupons.

He said he put the items in the bag while shopping because his hands were full and then put the bag in an unused cart he found near the bank of cashiers.

Devine said his political opponents will now use this “mistake” to try to portray him in the campaign as someone who cannot be trusted.

If they exploit this incident, he said, it will be because they are trying to distract voters from the real issues in Rahway, such as gun violence and inflated property value assessments.

Before Corbett imposed sentence, Devine’s attorney, Billy Delgado, asked for the minimum penalty because “the embarrassment and the experience itself has been tremendous punishment.”

Delgado noted the presence of a newspaper reporter “who’s going to make sure that this is flashed all over the world tomorrow.”

RELATED COVERAGE

Rahway mayoral candidate goes to court in Linden to fight shoplifting charge

Rahway political consultant, online blogger, charged in Linden shoplifting


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16 comments

 

Dowey

Devine you are a thief. You got caught and convicted, so let it go and move on.

James_Devine_35

People should also note that this is the third report about this insignificant event that appeared in the Star-Ledger, yet none of the last three shootings in Rahway have been covered by the state's largest newspaper.   


• A 17-year-old Rahway High School student had surgery at University Hospital after being shot once on Dec 26, 2013 near the 600 block of Central Avenue at approximately 9:20 p.m.


• A 22-year-old man was shot once on Jan. 12, 2014 near the intersection of Routes 1&9 and West Grand Avenue at approximately 2:00 a.m. 


• A dispute between two 16-year-old boys shortly after midnight on Feb. 8, 2014, escalated into gunfire that left one city teenager paralyzed and another facing decades in prison.


None of the guns used in these crimes has been recovered by police, but as I mentioned below, more than 75 percent of the crimes reported in Rahway last year remain unsolved.   You will find no mention of Rahway's five other non-lethal shootings of 2013 reported in the Star-Ledger.


You won't find in the Star-Ledger reports about my position on issues, plans for changing the way City Hall operates or my long list of accomplishments and qualifications either. If you want any of that, visit my website at www.jamesdevine.org and learn for youself why Rahway (and all of New Jerey) needs change to survive.



James_Devine_35

On July 19, I went to the Linden ShopRite to buy some milk, soda, vinegar, salad, protein power and hair conditioner for my wife.  It was a late at night after a long, hot day and when I arrived I had no quarter to unlock a shopping cart so I went in with my reusable bags and started collecting items for purchase.

When my hands got full, I put some of the things into one of the reusable bags I brought along so they would not fall to the floor.


After a while, I located a cart and put my groceries in it, finished my shopping and transferred everything on a conveyor belt to check out. The cashier asked my for coupons and while I was distracted looking for them, she picked up the bag containing lettuce, protein power and hair conditioner and placed it on the other side of the cash register without scanning the merchandise inside. I never expected that to happen. 


I could not have anticipated a cashier would not charge me for things placed on the conveyor belt in plain view. Before I was distracted, she poked through the unfilled reusable bags to check if anything was inside them. In court, my lawyer proved I was not guilty but the political establishment clearly influenced the judge.


While it is understandable that there was a mistake, it is ludicrous to consider imagine that I was trying to steal less than $25 from a store I visit almost every week. Yet, despite a video that proved I was not able to see the cashier transfer the bag without scanning its contents and a vigorous defense protesting my innocence, I was convicted for shoplifting.  I am certainly going to file an appeal, but the incident makes me realize more strongly how petty and unjust America's legal system has become.


<b>Already, my political adversaries are having a field day with this news but while I maintain my innocence, you should rather elect a petty thief as mayor than someone as uncaring and greedy as those who run City Hall today.</b>


Only 23 percent of the worst crimes reported in Rahway were solved last year. Only one of the six murders over the past five years have been solved. No guns were recovered from any of the four shootings that occurred in a recent four month period. 


Meanwhile, $1.2 million was collected in Rahway from drivers caught running red lights by one of two cameras monitored by law enforcement authorities. Instead of adjusting lights to give drivers time to stop, police are literally engaged in highway robbery!


Rahway's police chief is paid more than a major general in the US Army while more than 75 percent of the crimes reported last year remain unsolved. Taxpayers pay the Rahway police chief and his wife, a sergeant detective who works in his department, a combined $300,000 a year salary!


Innocent people are convicted for accidentally walking out of a store with a bag of lettuce while killers roam the streets and government officials load up their pockets with your tax dollars.  This is the kind of silly distraction that stops voters from tuning in on the real issues, but you cannot afford to ignore your chance to change Rahway in the June 3 Democratic primary election.


Months after I was charged in this ridiculous incident, <a href="http://www.devine.ws">former Mayor Jim Kennedy wrote: "Jim Devine is a principled progressive Democrat who has conducted himself with courage and character in diffcult situations... I know Jim Devine and personally vouch for his character." (see the letter at http://www.devine.ws)</a>  Today, in a desperate effort to preserve his political empire, the same man raised thousands of dollars to besmirch my reputation and warn that "you can't trust Devine."  


Samson Steinman is like a puppet controlled by Jim Kennedy, and together, they have guiding Rahway into a ditch. After using unethical, racist tactics to get Rick Proctor elected, they stole the office of Mayor from him!  Residential taxes are too high while Merck got a one-third tax reduction, downtown development endangers our future, home values are in a free fall, hundreds of families lost homes to foreclosure, most crimes are unsolved despite a surge in gun violence, and top salaries in City Hall are unconscionable.

This election is not about me and it is not about $20 worth of groceries. It is about the quality of life and competence of government in Rahway.


I am not perfect and my adversaries are also only human, but the June 3 election presents one simple set of rational choices:


If you like things the way they are, with rising taxes, unsolved crime and wasteful disposition of taxpayer money, then you should vote for more of the same.   


If you have common sense and want action to curb gun violence, reduce the tax burden on people and make City Hall work for you, then vote Democrats for Change.


social_user_2605

When I go to home depot I pay for the SMALLEST screw just like most people. I always make sure they get every item. They paid for it why can't I.

observer

People elect Democrats for this reason! To steal from others that have more. If the government confiscates wealth it's not stealing because they do it? He took items from a "greedy" corporation .This is a resume enhancer for him. Rahway's a goofball town that elects Democrats from top to bottom, this won't hurt him in the least.

ILoveLinden64

@lawabidingcitizen  As opposed to the reason people elect redumbagains - because they protect their wealthy & big business buddies over the interests of those who aren't part of the 1%.  It's not stealing because they do it, right? He is the only one responsible for his actions, and your comments are nothing more than a desperate right-wing sycophant once again trying to turn any situation into an opportunity to rant against the party that beat the pants off you - twice - in the most important election for our country.  Get over it already.

OPD911

Aren't they suppose to start lying and stealing after they get elected? 

Liquid Metal Terminator

"But Devine said the cashier moved the bag of items to the other side of the conveyor belt without scanning them while he was distracted looking through his coupons."

-----


If this is true, then he should have been found not guilty.

lindros7

Guy should've stolen a new set of eyeglasses. Who dressed him, looking like that? My 3 year old nephew just laughed at his picture

delpaso

Is there a problem?  If he gets elected he'll just be ready to steal big time.