Last updated: February 16. 2013 3:47AM - 516 Views

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NANTICOKE – Keith Allen Irace may have told his girlfriend, "I do this all the time," when he fled Weis Market with packages of meat he allegedly stole.

Shortly after he allegedly made the statement, Wilkes-Barre Township police arrested him and charged him with stealing items from two department stores on multiple days, according to court records.

Irace, 40, last-known address as Harding, was arraigned Tuesday in Wilkes-Barre Central Court on charges he stole items from The Home Depot in Wilkes-Barre and food items from Weis Market in Nanticoke.

Court records say that since 2008, Irace has had seven separate retail theft convictions based on arrests by police in Wilkes-Barre Township and Wyoming, and state police at Tunkhannock. He is also facing drug charges in county court for allegedly selling heroin and crack cocaine to state police troopers within an hour on Dec. 8, 2010, in Wilkes-Barre, and a retail theft charge by Wilkes-Barre Township police alleging he stole a television valued at $350 from Target on March 20, 2011.

In another related case, Irace appeared Wednesday before District Judge Michael Dotzel in Wilkes-Barre Township, where he waived his right to a preliminary hearing, sending two retail theft counts to county court. In that case, township police allege Irace stole about $250 in electronics from Kohl's Department Store on Dec. 10, 2011, according to arrest records.

According to the latest criminal complaints:

Wilkes-Barre police say Irace stole two power tool kits valued at $458 from The Home Depot on Spring Street on Feb. 22.

Nanticoke police allege Irace entered Weis Market on Feb. 5, 2009, and walked out of the store without paying for several packages of meat. Irace got into a vehicle driven by his girlfriend. When she realized he stole meat, Irace told her, "Don't worry, I do this all the time," according to the criminal complaints.

The retail theft charges filed against Irace are graded as felonies because he has more than three prior retail theft convictions.

Irace remains jailed at the county prison for lack of $10,500 bail.

Preliminary hearings for the latest criminal complaints are scheduled for April 4 before District Judge Donald Whittaker in Nanticoke and April 5 in Central Court.

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