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Saratoga County man sent to prison for shoplifting ring case

A 35-year-old Saratoga County man was ordered by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara Friday to serve a 55-month federal prison term and make $671,183.25 in restitution to Buffalo-area retail chains for his role in an organized shoplifting gang that stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in merchandise.

Terry Stewart, of the village of Stillwater, was convicted of engaging in a racketeering conspiracy for his role in the gang that shoplifted merchandise from Walmart, Sears, Home Depot, JoAnn Fabrics, Tops and Wegmans stores throughout the Buffalo area. The shoplifters then sold the goods for 25 cents on the dollar to Rico Vendetti of Rochester, who, in turn, sold them on eBay, mainly to out-of-state customers, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony M. Bruce.

Vendetti is jailed and awaiting sentencing on his felony murder conviction for the death of Homer Marciniak, 78, during a home invasion at Marciniak’s Medina home in July 2010, the prosecutors said.

Among the items sold on eBay by Vendetti for Stewart and other gang members were breast pumps, whitening strips, cross stitch and needlepoint kits, electric toothbrushes, thumb drives, pet supplements, razors and tool sets, prosecutors said.