Tacoma Woman Sentenced to More Than Two Years for Organized Shoplifting at Centralia Outlets


A Lewis County Superior Court judge sentenced a Tacoma woman to 25 months in prison on Wednesday for organizing a retail theft operation at the Centralia Factory Outlets using three juveniles, including one of her children.

“I want to apologize for being here. I took something that didn’t belong to me,” said Rosemary Valderas Valencia, who appeared in court out of custody.

She said she didn’t plan on having the juveniles steal anything; it was their choice.

However, while wiping tears from her eyes, she said she takes full responsibility.

Valencia, 44, pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree organized retail theft on March 4.

The standard sentencing range for the charges is 14 to 18 months in prison, but the state recommended 29 months based on aggravating factors including prior misdemeanor and felony criminal history, abuse of a position of trust and a destructive impact to people other than the victims.

Valencia’s prior criminal history includes multiple cases of second and third-degree theft, aggravated first-degree theft, shoplifting and organized retail theft, among other convictions, in Washington and Oregon between 1990 and 2013.

Juveniles, including Valencia’s children, have been involved in some previous convictions as well, Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Sheila Weirth said.

“She was in a position of trust for the juveniles and had a responsibility not to involve them in criminal activity,” Weirth said.

Defense Attorney Shane O’Rourke argued for Lawler to impose 18 months, the high end of the standard sentencing range.

O’Rourke said the crime Valencia is charged with is shoplifting with factors that make it a felony.

He said charges were amended, creating a higher standard range for sentencing. He said Valencia has been cooperative from the beginning.

If the criminal history aggravating factors are applicable, he said they should dictate Valencia be sentenced at the top end of the range.

“I don’t think what’s been presented here, given her admission to the crimes, given her willingness to plead, justifies something higher than what the Legislature’s set forth as the range,” O’Rourke said.

Superior Court Judge James Lawler applied the two aggravating factors dealing with prior criminal history to the sentencing decision.

“This is an extraordinary record,” Lawler said before imposing the 25-month sentence.

Valencia will get credit for one day of time served. Because the sentence is higher than the standard range, Valencia has the right to appeal the sentence within 30 days.

A no contact order with the stores involved will be imposed, and Valencia will be ordered to pay $1,400 in fees.

According to court documents, Centralia police responded to the Centralia Factory Outlets on Oct. 9, 2015, after receiving reports that juveniles were stealing stacks of clothing from stores and running out the doors.

Officers arrested the juveniles, and witnesses told police the kids were associated with a dark green Chevrolet Tahoe in the parking lot. The vehicle was registered to Valencia.

When officers searched the vehicle, they found merchandise from multiple stores, including Aeropostale, Hanes Outlet, Claire’s, Nike, Under Armour, New Balance and The Children’s Place.