Violent Shoplifter Gets 7.5 Years for Stabbing LP Associate while Stealing

rear view of prison officer leading prisoner in handcuffs

A Salem [Oregon] man was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison for stabbing a loss prevention officer who tried to stop him from stealing clothes from the West Salem Goodwill store last August.

Sean Earle Graham, 50, pleaded guilty to a first-degree robbery charge, a Measure 11 crime, last week before Polk County Circuit Court Judge Monte Campbell.

Graham was ordered to serve three years of probation following his prison sentence and pay nearly $22,000 in fines to the State Accident Insurance Fund Corporation (SAIF), Oregon’s not-for-profit workers’ compensation insurance company. The restitution will reimburse costs paid out by SAIF to cover medical bills for the loss prevention officer, Matthew Thompson.

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First-degree attempted murder and assault charges, and an unlawful use of weapon charge, have been dropped against Graham, court records show.

Polk County District Attorney Aaron Felton said the plea deal came after a review of the facts and in consultation with Thompson — and noted first-degree robbery and attempted murder carry the same sentence.

“That decision was not made by Mr. Graham,” Felton said.

Salem police officers were called just before 11 AM August 14 to a report of a fight and someone with a knife at the Goodwill store at 585 Edgewater Street NW.

When officers arrived, bystanders assisted them in detaining Graham.

Police learned the fight broke out when the store’s loss prevention officer, Thompson, stopped Graham for trying to steal clothes.

According to a probable cause statement, officers said Thompson suffered life-threatening injuries, including an 8 to 10 inch slash wound on the right side of his neck that exposed muscle and tendons, and a stab wound to his upper back. He also had a scratch on the left side of his neck.

He was treated and later released from Salem Hospital, according to former hospital communication specialist Elijah Penner.

During an interview, Graham reportedly told officers he paid for a shirt at the register but hid multiple items of clothing inside a backpack he was carrying without paying for them.

He said he was leaving the store when someone came up from behind and pulled on his backpack. Graham told police he started fighting with Thompson in an “effort to get away” and only realized Thompson was a security officer when his badge fell off… Statesman Journal

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