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5 years later, shoplifter who punched Rib Mountain store employee convicted in theft case

in Sirens

By Shereen Siewert

WAUSAU — A Milwaukee man who punched an employee at Ulta Beauty in Rib Mountain during a shoplifting spree will be sentenced in July, more than five years after the assault was first reported.

Selwyn Smith, 29, of Milwaukee was midway through a jury trial last week in Marathon County Circuit Court when he reached a plea agreement with prosecutors and jurors were excused from duty. Smith initially faced felony charges of robbery with use of force, aggravated battery and two counts of theft, along with misdemeanor charges of criminal damage to property. The charges, and a nationwide warrant against Smith, were filed Oct. 29, 2014 after months of investigation into the incident.

As part of the plea agreement, Smith was convicted of two counts of theft, one of which is a felony. Additional charges of theft, battery and criminal damage to property were dismissed but will be considered at sentencing.

According to court documents deputies were called at about 4 p.m. on June 2, 2014 to Ulta Beauty, 3555 Rib Mountain Drive, for a report of shoplifting and assault. Police say Smith was one of several people who entered the store. The theft was part of a multi-state spree of hits on the retail chain by a group dubbed “the Grab and Go Five.”

They were believed to have taken more than $27,000 worth of perfume and cologne during the spree, which included hits at stores in Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois.

Smith also stole merchandise from two Wausau Center mall retailers – Hot Topic and The Buckle – on the same day as the Ulta attack, police said.

Smith is also implicated in a 2015 Pleasant Prairie, Wis. Ulta store robbery along with 31-year-old Travis Arrington, also of Milwaukee. And two women from Milwaukee, Menique Jeanelle Hardy, 26, and Mercedes D. Hardwick, 28, were also charged in Iowa for their role in the spree.

Circuit Judge Greg Strasser ordered a presentencing investigation be completed before Smith’s sentencing, which is set for July 22. Smith’s $25,000 cash bond is continued until he is sentenced.

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