Shoplifting brings life sentence for Cecilia Rodriguez

Modified: March 21, 2009 at 12:05 am •  Published: March 21, 2009
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For shoplifting two purses, an Oklahoma City woman was sentenced Friday to life in prison.

A judge imposed the unusually long term after learning the shoplifter is a heroin addict who has been punished almost 30 other times for theft-related crimes. The stealing dates to 1971, records show.

"It’s past time to say, ‘Enough is enough,’” Oklahoma County District Judge Ray Elliott said. "She needs to be warehoused for the rest of her life. She’s a one-person crime wave.”

Cecilia Cathleen Rodriguez, 56, pleaded guilty in January to grand larceny. She was caught a year ago at a Dillard’s store stealing a $275 purse and a $380 purse, records show.

Her attorney said she shoplifted to support her drug habit. She cared for her mother and lived off monthly disability checks and food stamps, according to a presentencing report prepared for the judge. She has never had a steady job.

The judge also revoked Rodriguez’s probation on a 2000 larceny case, meaning she has 19 more years to serve in prison after completing her life term.

Her arrest record shows theft cases in California, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. She has gone to prison before for thefts. She also went to prison for a 1983 assault. Her attorney said some of the crimes actually were done by others using her name.

The judge noted the outcomes on all her criminal cases were not known so she may have even more convictions.

The judge criticized legislators who complain state prisons are overcrowded because of inmates sent there for crimes such as larceny.

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