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Virginia Man Gets 20 Years For Stealing 3 Pairs Of Sunglasses

Virginia Man Gets 20 Years For Stealing 3 Pairs Of Sunglasses


A 22-year-old man in Virginia could spend 20 years in prison for stealing three pairs of sunglasses from Sunglass Hut. He also faces a $2500 fine.

According to Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Michael Gaten of the Williamsburg-James City County, Tyler Dean Williams stole two pairs of Ray Bans and one pair of Oakley glasses. A Sunglass Hut clerk noticed that glasses were missing from a display case and immediately contacted police, who located Williams and his brother nearby. The brother was unaware of what happened, but the glasses were found under the armrest in Williams’ car.

Williams confessed to the crime in court, and faces a felony shoplifting charge after declining a grand jury hearing. He was previously caught shoplifting in October with traces of cocaine in his wallet, but the subsequent charges were dropped against him last month.

Virginia law defines grand larceny, or “felony larceny” as the theft of items worth more than $200 from a given place, and can lead to a 20-year sentence.

Virginia implemented a truth-in-sentencing law in 1995, meaning felons remain in prison for at least 85 percent of the their sentence. The law also abolished parole for offenders who committed crimes after 1995. The Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission says that the abolishment of parole leads to harsher sentences for violent offenders. A policy brochure states that sentencing also takes into account the “likelihood of future dangerousness,” and that “safely punishing lower-risk violence felons through alternative sanctions is freeing up scarce prison beds to house the more dangerous offenders.”

Today the state has the eighth largest prison population in the country. Every person behind bars costs the state $25,000 per year.

Re-entry into society after completing a prison sentence is also difficult for felons in Virginia. They are still required to disclose felony convictions on job applications, making it hard to find employment. And although criminals convicted of “less serious” crimes in the state are supposed to have their voting rights restored automatically, that only happens when they meet certain criteria: supervised probation, and the payment of court fines, restitutions, and fees.


December 8th, 2014

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