ABINGDON, Va. — Three Florida residents were sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to driving in a stolen vehicle and committing an armed robbery at the Interstate 81 Travel Plaza in Wythe County in May 2018, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia.

Christyen Sumpter, 27, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in U.S. District Court in Abingdon.  The court also sentenced Michael Anthony Wilson, 25, to imprisonment for a term of 12 years. Perla Isel Pineda-Osorio, 25, received a sentence of 2 years and 9 months. All three defendants were from Sarasota, Florida.

Each defendant previously pleaded guilty 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, according to the release.

On May 28, 2018, the three people posed as hitchhikers and a man in South Carolina picked them up, the release said. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the three defendants threatened the driver with guns and demanded that he take them to ATMs to withdraw funds from his account. The three then took the money and stole the man’s car, leaving him on the side of the road.

The three defendants also carried out armed robberies at stores in Charlotte and Jonesville, North Carolina. They later robbed at the I-81 Travel Plaza in Wythe County the same night, the release stated.

A high-speed chase ensued following the travel plaza robbery and the vehicle crashed, the release stated. Police then took the defendants into custody.

The guns were later found to be BB guns, although they looked like real guns, according to the release.

A number of law enforcement agencies in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida assisted with the investigation.

“The Department of Justice is committed to prosecuting, in federal court, individuals who commit acts of violence in our local communities,” U.S. Attorney Thomas T. Cullen said in the release.  “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.” 

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