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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

Friday, September 6, 2019

Armed Robber Sentenced to 28 Years in Prison

RICHMOND, Va. – A Norfolk man was sentenced today to 28 years in prison for committing a series of armed robberies in Petersburg, Henrico, and Richmond.

“Spencer, an armed criminal, used an AK-47 style long gun to rob and victimize, innocent, hard-working employees of small businesses in the Richmond area,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “His 28 year sentence reflects the seriousness of his despicable conduct, and thank God no one was killed during one of his brazen armed robberies. Spencer is a clear danger to the community, a threat to public safety, and the Eastern District is a safer place with him off of the streets. My thanks to the prosecutors and investigators for their commitment to this case and our Project Safe Neighborhoods mission of removing violent criminals from the community.”

According to court documents, Peonte Shamar Spencer, 39, armed himself with an AK-47 style long gun to rob three convenience stores and used a handgun to rob a bank. On Dec. 2, 2018, Spencer entered a Qwik Shop in Petersburg and demanded the register’s cash from the convenience store clerk while pointing an AK-47 style long gun at the clerk. Later that night, Spencer entered a Rite Aid in Henrico and once again brandished an AK-47 style long gun while demanding the store’s cash from its clerk. On Dec. 6, 2018, Spencer robbed a 48 Hour Convenience Store in Richmond using the same gun and similar tactics from the previous two robberies. During this robbery, Spencer threatened to shoot the store’s clerk. On Dec. 18, 2018, Spencer robbed the South State Bank in Richmond using a black starter pistol and fled with nearly $4,000 in a car driven by his girlfriend.

“The FBI and its partners will continue to aggressively investigate violent crimes such as the ones committed by Spencer,” said David W. Archey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office. “We are grateful for the partnership of the United States Attorney’s Office, and its successful prosecution of this case which removed a violent criminal from the community.”

Law enforcement officers were able to locate the vehicle and apprehend Spencer and his girlfriend along with the bank’s stolen money, the black starter pistol, and an AK-47 with additional magazines. Spencer also admitted to law enforcement that he was involved in two previous bank robberies of the same bank earlier that year.

The 28 year sentence will be served consecutively to a sentence of eight years that Spencer received in Richmond Circuit Court.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and David W. Archey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Janet Jin Ah Lee and Angela Mastandrea-Miller prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:19-cr-12.

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Joshua Stueve Director of Public Affairs
Updated September 6, 2019