Three Sentenced for Robbery of I-81 Travel Plaza in Wythe County

Three Sentenced for Robbery of I-81 Travel Plaza in Wythe County

ABINGDON – Three Sarasota, Florida residents, who previously admitted to traveling in a stolen vehicle and committing the May 2018 robbery of the I-81 Travel Plaza in Wythe County, were sentenced yesterday in U.S. District Court in Abingdon. United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen made the announcement.

Christyen Sumpter, 27, was sentenced to imprisonment for a term of 20 years. Michael Anthony Wilson, 25, was sentenced to imprisonment for a term of 12 years. Perla Isel Pineda-Osorio, 25, was sentenced to imprisonment for a term of 2 years and 9 months.

All three defendants pleaded guilty in July to one count of robbery by threatening physical violence, one count of transporting a stolen vehicle in interstate commerce, and one count of conspiracy to commit robbery, possess a motor vehicle that had crossed a state boundary after being stolen, and transporting in interstate commerce a vehicle that had been stolen.

“The Department of Justice is committed to prosecuting, in federal court, individuals who commit acts of violence in our local communities,” U.S. Attorney Cullen stated today.  “I am grateful for the hard work and collaboration of our federal, state, and local partners on this important case and our violence-reduction initiatives across the district.”

            According to court documents, on May 28, 2018, an individual in South Carolina picked up Pineda-Osorio, Sumpter, and Wilson, who posed as hitchhikers.  The three defendants pulled guns on the driver and demanded he take them to various ATMs to withdraw money from his account.  After taking the driver’s money, the defendants abandoned the victim on the side of the road and stole his vehicle.  Pineda-Osorio, Sumpter, and Wilson then proceeded to Charlotte, North Carolina, where they robbed a convenience store.  The three committed a similar armed robbery at a store in Jonesville, North Carolina.  Later that same night, all three committed another robbery at the I-81 Travel Plaza in Wythe County, Virginia.  Soon after the robbery, law enforcement spotted the stolen vehicle in which they were traveling and a high-speed chase ensued. The vehicle eventually crashed and the defendants were taken into custody.  The guns used in the robberies were recovered and, although they looked like real firearms, were determined to be BB guns.

            The investigation of the case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and Wythe County (VA) Sheriff’s Office, with assistance by the Charlotte Mecklenburg (NC) Police Department, the Jonesville (NC) Police Department, the Montgomery County (VA) Sheriff’s Office, the New River Valley (VA) Regional Jail, the Orangeburg (SC) Department of Public Safety, the Pulaski County (VA) Sheriff’s Office, the Sarasota (FL) Police Department, the South Carolina State Police, and the Virginia State Police.

            Assistant United States Attorney Randy Ramseyer prosecuted the case for the United States.