By Denise Dick
They say history repeats itself, and that appears true for a Youngstown woman and the township police officers who have arrested her multiple times.
Lavette Boone, 48, of East Boston Avenue, was arrested over the weekend by Austintown police on a warrant from Boardman charging her with theft.
Boone is accused of attempting on Feb. 7 to return two bed comforters to Target in the Shops at Boardman Park — although store security video shows her walking into the store empty-handed.
Boone was released after posting bond and is to appear today in Mahoning County Area Court in Boardman.
Boone has an extensive record of theft dating back to 1983. She’s accused of committing most of the thefts in Boardman, though there have been others in Austintown, Canfield, Youngstown and part of Trumbull County.
“We call her the Cal Ripken of Mahoning County,” Boardman Police Chief Jack Nichols said, referring to the Baltimore Orioles baseball player who played for 21 seasons. “She’s probably in like the top three in Mahoning County in number of arrests.”
Police have at least 15 different mug shots of Boone from the times of her various arrests.
Besides the theft charges, court records show that bench warrants have been issued for the Youngstown woman on several occasions including last January, December and October when she failed to show up for court.
“She’s persistent,” Nichols said.
Boone, when contacted Monday, declined to comment.
Paul Gains, Mahoning County prosecutor, said that up until several years ago, offenders with multiple misdemeanor convictions — such as those for theft — could be charged with felonies, but the state Legislature changed the law and sentences are now limited by the Ohio Revised Code.
He said he spoke out against that law change at the time.
“When you take a look at what the Legislature has done with lower-level felonies, there’s a presumption of probation,” Gains said.
The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections tries to encourage political subdivisions not to send lower-level felony offenders to prison because of the cost, he said.
In late 2011, Boone was ordered to complete a drug-treatment program after being charged with a probation violation. She was on probation for 2007 theft convictions at that time and was accused of using drugs while on probation.
In December 2007, Judge Maureen Sweeney sentenced Boone to two years in prison followed by three years of supervised release on three counts of theft.
Early last year, Boone also was ordered to complete an inpatient substance-abuse program.
Nichols said that clothing and jewelry are among Boone’s items of choice along with candy bars and health and beauty items. Police believe she resells items that she takes.
“We’ve found her in cars with thousands of dollars in merchandise,” the chief said.