PAINESVILLE -- A man with prior drug convictions was sentenced to 2 years in prison Thursday morning after he was arrested while mixing up meth inside the Mentor Walmart store.
As soon as he pleaded guilty Thursday morning just after 11 a.m., Lake County Common Pleas Court Judge Eugene Lucci sentenced James Richardson, 37, of Perry, to three years in prison and also suspended his driver's license for five years.
About 5:30 p.m. June 17, Richardson entered the Walmart and a security guard noticed that he was acting strangely.
He grabbed a shopping cart and picked out drain cleaner, camp fuel, stain remover and other items and then began to mix the chemicals in a salt shaker he picked out in the home furnishings department.
Richardson was still walking around the store as he was mixing the chemicals and shaking the shaker. Narcotics agents say this is known as "shake-and-bake," where one combines all the ingredients in a single, sealable container and shakes it to increase pressure.
Then he set the salt shaker on a shelf and pushed the cart towards the front door.
He was stopped and arrested by Mentor police who had been called by the security guard.
Police said Richardson showed all the signs of someone on crystal meth -- nervous, jittery, constricted eyes and scratching at sores on his face brought on by itching from the illegal drug.
Police found the shaker and it contained crystal meth. Firefighters from the Mentor Fire Department were called and cordoned off portions of the store because Richardson had spilled some of his chemicals while making the meth.
Richardson has five previous convictions for felony drug possession and one more for manufacturing meth, according to court records here and in neighboring counties.