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Goodremote ordered to pay restitution in Walmart computer theft


Daniel Goodremote pleaded guilty to and was sentenced for felony theft Monday morning in Carlton County Court for an incident this summer at the Cloquet Walmart store.

Goodremote, 37, and Debbie Marie Belland, 53, went to Walmart in Cloquet June 29 and paid cash for three computers. They attempted to return those computers - minus their hard drives and RAM memory cards - less than an hour later. Thanks to an alert employee, those plans went awry and the Grantsburg, Wis., residents were arrested for theft.

Belland pleaded guilty in November. Both received the same sentence, according to Assistant County Attorney Nichole Carter.

According to the criminal complaint, Cloquet Walmart employees had been notified by the Pine City Walmart store that, from March through June 2010, someone had purchased laptop computers and returned them to various Walmart stores throughout the state. Two days before the theft in Cloquet, Pine City Walmart had sent photos of the person who had returned laptops, so an alert Cloquet employee recognized the long-haired Goodremote when he came into the store.

Cloquet Police Sergeant Carey Ferrell was called to the store after Goodremote attempted to return the three computers, which he and Belland had purchased at approximately 1:30 p.m. June 29.

"The loss prevention person in Cloquet was really on the ball," said Cloquet Police Detective Darrin Berg, just after the arrests. "He recognized them coming in and saw they were returning computers. So then he checked [the store's video] and saw that they had purchased computers earlier, so he called the police."

Video footage from Walmart showed both Goodremote and Belland purchasing the computers, then leaving the store and getting into a GMC Suburban truck. More video showed the pair driving to the end of the parking lot and parking the truck for approximately 45 minutes, before driving it back to the front of the store to return the computers.

When officers executed a search warrant on the Suburban and found the three hard drives, three RAM memory cards and small tools that could be used for removing the screws on the laptops, as well as some other computer hardware. Police officers also found postal service boxes, bubble wrap and eBay Inc. literature, as well as MapQuest directions to several Sam's Club stores in the Twin Cities region.

On Monday, Judge Robert Macaulay Jr. sentenced Goodremote to three years of probation, plus $500 in fines and court fees, as well as restitution to both Anoka County and the Cloquet Walmart store. The amount to be paid to the Cloquet Walmart had not yet been determined, but the store has 30 days to send in an affidavit outlining its costs. Carter said the laptop computers had a value of just under $2,500, so that was the most the store would likely ask for.

At the time of the arrest, it was a case with potential statewide implications. So far, however, only Carlton County has prosecuted the pair, with Anoka County agreeing to dismiss its case if the defendants agreed to pay $1,522 in restitution to Anoka County.

And, while the case didn't turn into a multi-jurisdictional investigation, Carter said Goodremote has pending theft charges against him in Stearns County.

"Our conviction and our criminal history points will carry to other counties," Carter said after the hearing Monday. "It's almost like we laid the groundwork."