Man gets prison for theft, fake abduction
By Caitlin Davis, Senior Staff Writer
Aug 21, 2014, 13:02
HOPEWELL — A 31-year-old man who stole thousands from ATM machines in Prince George and Hopewell and faked his own kidnapping to hide his crimes will spend almost two years behind bars.
Christopher Wimmer was sentenced in Hopewell Circuit Court on Wednesday to one year and six months in prison for two charges of embezzlement and one charge of filing a false police report.
Earlier this year, Wimmer was sentenced in Prince George Circuit Court to 20 years with all but 10 months suspended for embezzlement charges. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $267 to Bubba’s Chicken Wings and Things.
On Jan. 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.
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 in Hopewell, the mother found her son 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.
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 was alone at both locations. The total amount stolen from the two locations was $3,000.
When Wimmer was approached by police again, he admitted to lying about the abduction.
Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Jessica Vormwald recommended that Wimmer be sentenced somewhere between the low to the midpoint of the guidelines for the charges, which range from one year and one month to one year and 10 months in prison.
“The court is reluctant but will accept the recommendations of the Commonwealth,” Judge Sam Campbell said in court on Wednesday.
Judge Campbell said the prior charges Wimmer has faced, of which the court indicated were drug related, did not seem to motivate him to make positive changes in his life.
Wimmer told Judge Thomas Warren in Prince George Circuit Court earlier this year that he had been struggling for “quite some time” with a drug addiction.
“I had a relapse and couldn’t control it,” Wimmer said in Prince George Circuit Court. “I started doing drugs and needed the money.”
Judge Campbell also denied the defense motion to have the sentence in Hopewell and Prince George run concurrently though he did tell Wimmer he would get credit for time served. Wimmer has been in jail since his arrest in January.
“I caused myself a lot of problems and I’m the only one who can straighten it out,” Wimmer told the court.
Wimmer was sentenced to five years, with four years suspended for one felony count of embezzlement; he was sentenced to five years, with five years suspended for other felony count of embezzlement and 12 months with six months suspended for the misdemeanor charge of filing a false police report.
“You have had all kinds of chances,” Judge Campbell told Wimmer after sentencing.
Wimmer was also ordered to pay $3,680 in restitution and upon release will be placed on indefinite supervised probation.