Man guilty in ATM scheme
By Caitlin Davis, Senior Staff Writer
Jun 3, 2014, 13:19
A man was found guilty of faking his own abduction in a scheme to get money from ATMs in Hopewell and also pleaded guilty to separate embezzlement charges in Prince George last week.
In a plea agreement in Prince George Circuit Court on Thursday, Christopher Wimmer, 31, pleaded guilty to the embezzlement charge and is still awaiting sentencing in Hopewell.
Just an hour before court on Thursday in Prince George, Wimmer decided to plead guilty according a line of questioning from Judge Thomas Warren.
Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Mark Barnard said that on January 13 Wimmer was instructed by his employer Rodney Wilson, of C&L Amusement, to stock the ATM at Bubba’s Chicken Wings and Things in Prince George.
Wilson received a call from the restaurant that the machine was $160 short and upon further investigation, found that $100 had never been placed in the ATM.
Wimmer told Judge Warren he had been struggling for “quite some time” with a drug addiction. He also told the judge he had a wife and three children and had started doing work for Wilson, who hired him despite his prior criminal record which included a charge of credit card forgery.
“I had a relapse and couldn’t control it,” Wimmer told the court. “I started doing drugs and needed the money.”
Judge Warren told Wimmer he was making a “huge mess” and needed to “somehow get yourself together.”
“Stop being a nuisance,” Judge Warren told Wimmer. “You’re being a total nuisance.”
Judge Warren, upon the lines of the plea agreement, sentenced Wimmer to 20 years in prison, with all but 10 months suspended and ordered him to pay $267 restitution to Bubba’s Chicken Wings and Things.
The day before, Wimmer was in Hopewell Circuit Court on related charges. In Hopewell, Wimmer is not only facing two charges of embezzlement but he is also charged with making a false report to police.
On Jan. 15 around 3 p.m. a call came into the Hopewell Police Department for a reported abduction at the 600 block of Eppes Street.
Deputy Chief Robert Skowron said a couple months prior to the court date the mother found her son, Christopher Wimmer, 31, bound. Wimmer claimed that he was jumped by three individuals and forced to take out large sums of money from an ATM.
When detectives began questioning him about the incident, Wimmer’s story quickly unravelled. He admitted to police that he had made up the abduction.
Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Jessica Vormwald told Judge Thomas Warren in court on Wednesday that when police responded to the call at Eppes Street, they found Wimmer loosely tied up with chords in front of his house.
Wimmer also told officers that the men held him captive overnight. He told police the men knew he had access to keys that opened ATMs in the area. Wimmer said the men forced him to go to ATMs to take out money.
Police said upon taking notice of the scene, they noticed Wimmer did not have any injuries to his wrists from being bound.
The investigation into the reported abduction continued when police questioned his employer. Wilson provided evidence that Wimmer had gone to different ATMs in the area on the days in question.
Surveillance footage shows Wimmer at an ATM at K&L Barbecue and then at an ATM at Partners. The footage shows that Wimmer is alone while at both locations. The total amount stolen from the two locations totals $3,000.
When Wimmer was approached by police again, he admitted to lying about the abduction.
Judge Warren found Wimmer guilty of both counts of embezzlement and the charge of making a false police report. Wimmer will be sentenced in Hopewell Circuit Court on August 20.