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Press Release

Final Defendant Pleads Guilty in Robbery of I-81 Travel Plaza in Wythe County

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia
Christyen Sumpter is Third Florida Resident to be Convicted for May 2018 Robbery

Abingdon, VIRGINIA – A third Florida resident has admitted to traveling in a stolen vehicle and committing the May 2018 armed robbery of the I-81 Travel Plaza in Wythe County, according to a plea agreement entered in U.S. District Court yesterday in Abingdon and announced today by United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen.

Christyen Sumpter, 27, of Sarasota, Fla., pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of robbery by threatening physical violence, one count of transporting a vehicle in interstate commerce knowing the same vehicle to have been stolen, 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. Earlier this month, Michael Anthony Wilson and Perla Isel Pineda-Osorio, also of Sarasota, pled guilty to the same charges in relation to the robbery.

“The United States Attorney’s Office will continue to take all acts of violence and those crimes involving firearms seriously,” United States Attorney Cullen stated today. “We will work with our federal, state, and local partners to prosecute violent offenders and make our communities safer.”

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 that he take them to various ATMs to withdraw money from his account.  After taking the driver’s money, they abandoned him on the side of the rode 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, while looking like real firearms, were determined to be BB guns. 

All three defendants will be sentenced on October 16, 2019, at 2:30 p.m.  At sentencing, the defendants each face a maximum of thirty-five years in prison.

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 Charlotte Mecklenburg (NC) Police Department, Jonesville (NC) Police Department, Montgomery County (VA) Sheriff’s Office, New River Valley (VA) Regional Jail, Orangeburg (SC) Department of Public Safety, Pulaski County (VA) Sheriff’s Office, Sarasota (FL) Police Department, South Carolina State Police, and Virginia State Police.

Assistant United States Attorney Randy Ramseyer is prosecuting the case for the United States.

Updated July 26, 2019

Violent Crime