12-time shoplifter charged again
March 4, 2013
CRANBERRY TWP — A 12-time convicted shoplifter is back in prison after being nabbed one more time for allegedly taking store merchandise. This time, 28-year-old Patricia L. Coto of Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon tried to steal an Xbox video game system controller from the Best Buy store in the Cranberry Square shopping plaza, township police said. Due to her extensive criminal record, the $55 item was more than enough to land her in the Butler County Prison on $20,000 bail. District Judge Sue Haggerty arraigned Coto on a felony count of retail theft and other charges. While normally a summary or misdemeanor offense, retail theft is upgraded to a third-degree felony regardless of the stolen property’s value when a defendant has at least two prior convictions for the same crime. Police said when they arrested Coto she lied about her identity when an officer confronted her. She allegedly used her sister’s name in hopes of keeping her criminal history under wraps, according to court documents. She failed. Police said Coto has 12 prior convictions for retail theft. Those crimes happened between 2007 and 2012, all in Allegheny County, court records showed. Most recently, Coto in July was sentenced in six separate theft-related cases in Allegheny County. She got no jail time. Instead, records showed, she was placed on a combined 90 months of probation. In addition to retail theft, Coto is charged in her weekend arrest with receiving stolen property, identity theft and providing false identification to police. Coto at her arraignment told Haggerty that she is the single mother of a 17-month-old child. She said she has been working at McDonald’s in Pittsburgh for four months.