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Roanoke man pleads to reduced charge in cab driver robbery

Roanoke man pleads to reduced charge in cab driver robbery

Only $5 for 5 months

Although initially charged with the strong-arm robbery of a cab driver last spring, a Roanoke man this week was convicted of a lesser charge through a plea agreement.

Charles Alandas Hollowell, 25, pleaded no contest to larceny from a person and was sentenced to serve three years in prison. He also carries four years in suspended time, will be on probation for a year and is not allowed to have any contact with the driver.

At a plea hearing Thursday, a Roanoke prosecutor said that on April 18, a cab driver picked up a fare at about 9 a.m. at the Sheetz on Williamson Road. After a few false stops, the passenger had her park near an alley on Eighth Street, between Elm and Day avenues. The driver told police he then reached across the seat, said “Give me your money or you’re going to die,” and began choking her. She gave him $120 in cash and he ran away, she said.

Roanoke assistant prosecutor Andrew Stephens said at the hearing that the driver was able to describe the man’s clothes, down to and including details of his boxer shorts. Police acting off a recent but separate police report traced a suspect to a nearby apartment where they found Hollowell, as well as clothing that matched the driver’s descriptions and a roll of money. Stephens also said security video existed of the cab driver picking up the customer at Sheetz, but that was not elaborated upon or shown in court.

Defense attorney Drew Givens acknowledged that was the evidence he had expected, but said that had the case gone to trial, he would have disputed elements of the prosecution’s summary.

In Virginia, a robbery conviction carries terms of five years to life, while larceny has no minimum and maxes out at 20 years.

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