Last defendant in Wythe County I-81 Travel Plaza armed robbery case pleads guilty

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ABINGDON, Va. (WJHL) — The third and final suspect in a robbery case that goes back to May 2018 at the I-81 Travel Plaza in Wythe County has pleaded guilty.

According to a release from the Department of Justice, Christyen Sumpter, 27, of Sarasota, FL, admitted to traveling in a stolen vehicle and taking part in committing armed robbery at the plaza on May 28, 2018.

Sumpter pleaded guilty to:

  • One count of robbery by threatening physical violence
  • One count of transporting a vehicle in instate commerce knowing the vehicle to have been stolen
  • One count of conspiracy to commit robbery
  • Possessing a motor vehicle that had crossed a state boundary after being stolen
  • Transporting in interstate commerce a vehicle that had been stolen.

Court documents say a driver in South Carolina picked up Sumpter, Michael Wilson and Perla Pineda-Osorio. The three were posing as hitchhikers.

Court documents say the three then drew firearms on the driver and told him to take them to different ATMs so he could withdraw money from his own account.

Once they had taken the driver’s money, the three took his vehicle and left him on the roadside.

Afterward, documents say the three committed two armed robberies at different North Carolina convenience stores in Charlotte and Jonesville.

Records say the three then robbed the I-81 Travel Plaza in Wythe County that night, which led to authorities spotting the vehicle soon after and initiating a chase.

After a high-speed chase, the vehicle eventually crashed and all three defendants were taken into custody.

Court documents say that the firearms recovered from the defendants were actually BB guns.

Wilson and Pineda-Osorio pleaded guilty earlier in July 2019.

The release says the three defendants will be sentenced October 16, 2019, and each faces a maximum of 35 years in prison.

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