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Judge faults police, drops charge in shoplifter-for-hire case

July 8, 1997

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ A judge decided today that three members of a wealthy family should remain on trial on charges that they gave a shoplifter lists of items to steal, including Armani suits and Baccarat crystal.

Judge Salvador Rosas dismissed charges Monday against a fourth family member, James Dick, after defense attorneys complained about police infractions, including missing notes, the failure to get a search warrant and falsely telling a defense attorney that a sting operation was tape recorded.

``Clearly there have been multiple violations of criminal procedure,″ Rosas said.

But the judge today refused a motion to acquit Dick’s sister, Chicago lawyer Stacy Zehren, and the defense started presenting its case for her and her parents, dentist Gerald Dick and Judy Dick. Each is charged with attempting and conspiring to receive stolen property in a police sting.

James Dick, who played for the Minnesota Vikings briefly in 1987, told reporters he was ``absolutely elated.″

``You don’t know how hard this has been,″ he said.

Gregory Thomas told police he sold about $250,000 worth of goods to the family over the years, then agreed to set up the Dicks for a police sting at their $400,000 home.

He and an investigator brought about $2,500 in stolen goods to the Dick home and allegedly took orders for more. The two returned with suits and sweaters and Gerald Dick used a small blowtorch from his dental practice to burn off anti-theft tags, prosecutors said.

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