Serial swindler targets motorcycle dealerships across the metro

A Forest Lake man with a lengthy history of theft and check fraud is now charged with stealing more than $200,000 from a dozen Twin Cities businesses.

Richard Wooton, 54, is facing a new round of theft charges after police say he targeted a dozen dealerships last year, writing bad checks to purchase motorcycles, heavy machinery, trailers, and even a boat.

Court documents claim Wooton stole more than $232,000 worth of items from May to October 2023. He would then sell many of the items for cash.

Wooton has a lengthy history of theft by swindle, burglary, and check forgery charges dating back to 1989. Most recently, in 2019, he was convicted of theft charges after more than 40 people claimed they hired his company to remodel their home and he never did the work. 

"It seems whatever punishment he was previously doled out didn’t do the job," said Cy Webber with Simply Ride in Eden Prairie.

Webber said it wasn’t until two checks bounced that they Googled the customer and discovered his past.

"As soon as I pulled up Google… immediately I see this gentleman’s face, and it was a mugshot," said Webber. "My heart just dropped."

"He’s done this before and now here we are he’s doing it again," said Captain Jamie Pearson with Shakopee Police.

Wooton is currently serving time at the Minnesota Correctional Facility, in relation to a previous theft conviction.

In this case, Pearson said they’re hoping Wooton gets charged as a career criminal so that he’ll have to do more time.