Hart woman pleads guilty to stealing from Walmart with her husband

April 21, 2015
Melissa VanDerZanden pleads in 51st Circuit Court, with her attorney Doug Stevenson.

Melissa VanDerZanden pleads in 51st Circuit Court, with her attorney Doug Stevenson.

By Allison Scarbrough. Contributing Editor.

LUDINGTON — A 31-year-old Hart woman pleaded guilty to first-degree retail fraud in 51st Circuit Court Tuesday, April 21, and in exchange for her guilty plea is looking at serving one month in jail.

Melinda Ann VanDerZanden and her husband Randy Alan VanDerZanden were arrested Dec. 1 by the Mason County Sheriff’s Office after stealing several items valued at over $1,000 from the Ludington Walmart.

VanDerZanden’s plea agreement includes a one-year discretionary jail sentence with 30 days up front, followed by 60 days on a tether, said Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola. The restitution amount has yet to be determined.

“I pushed a cart full of stuff,” VanDerZanden testified Tuesday. While answering Judge Susan Sniegowski’s questions, she further explained that she pushed the cart out of Walmart with the intention to stealing items valued at more than $1,000.

The maximum penalty for first-degree retail fraud is five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine or three times the value of the stolen property, Sniegowski said.

VanDerZanden is set for sentencing June 2 at 2 p.m.

Randy VanDerZanden pleaded guilty to first-degree retail fraud in 51st Circuit Court, March 17. He is also looking at a one-year jail sentence with 30 days to be served up front and 60 days on a tether. He is set for sentencing on May 12 at 1:30 p.m.

 

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