Gilbert man accused of stealing from 19 retailers - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Gilbert man accused of stealing from 19 retailers

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Larry Ruthenberg Larry Ruthenberg
MESA, Ariz. -

The pictures are incredible. A warehouse, stocked full of basically any item you can imagine. Food, clothes, even gardening supplies. But police say all these items were stolen.

Not stolen by just anybody, however. Police say it was a 61-year-old man and his 89-year-old mother – two people who normally wouldn't raise any suspicion.

This all started when Gilbert Police responded to what appeared to be a routine shoplifting call. But it turns out this case was far from ordinary.

This Gilbert man allegedly used his wheelchair-bound mother to steal more than $130,000 worth of products from retail stores.

Gilbert police say 61-year-old Larry Ruthenberg is being held on suspicion of fraudulent schemes and organized retail theft. 

They say Ruthenberg has been arrested multiple times for retail fraud in Michigan and he and his 89-year-old mother Doris moved to Arizona last June.

Gilbert police say Ruthenberg and his mother allegedly were involved in 32 thefts over a 5-day span from 19 retailers.

Police say the two then allegedly sold the items - still in their original packaging - at Gilbert garage sales. 

Authorities say they seized three truckloads of stolen merchandise from Ruthenberg's home and several storage lockers. To date, police have uncovered $130,000 in stuff.

Police say charges against Ruthenberg's mother are pending. Ruthenberg has been jailed.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press contributed.

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