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  • Writer's pictureRobin Lyons

The Bad Apple

It’s a shame that we can’t fully trust the people we hire to perform work in our homes. Of course, there are more trustworthy contractors than not, but as William Shakespeare said, “there’s small choice in rotten apples.” Or later, Benjamin Franklin said, “the rotten apple spoils his companion.” Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a Bad Apple as a member of a group whose behavior reflects poorly on or negatively affects or influences the remainder of the group.

The bad apple in this true crime worked at paving driveways. After the job was done, he and his girlfriend revisited some of his elderly customers and terrorized them.

They forced a 72-year-old Vietnam veteran with dementia inside his home, struck him in the neck, bound his hands and feet, then threw him down a stairwell to his basement. Among other valuables, they stole his military bomber jacket, an irreplaceable keepsake that law enforcement hasn’t recovered.

The couple boldly entered the home of an 88-year-old woman, held her at gunpoint, ripped off her Life Alert necklace, struck her in the head knocking her unconscious, then ransacked her home.

To incapacitate their victims, they typically subdued them by punching or hitting them and then tied them up so they could freely ransack the victim’s home—stealing jewelry, valuables, heirlooms, and cash.

Before their reign of terror ended, the 52-year-old former paving employee and his 36-year-old girlfriend attacked, kidnapped (per the legal definition), and robbed seven elderly victims.

A tipster saw a couple driving a car that matched the description of the robbers’ car and called it in. A Pawn Shop employee also identified the man as a customer who pawned jewelry and other items. A U.S. Attorney associated with the case, said,

“The Department of Justice will always stand firmly against those who seek to terrorize, take advantage of, and abuse our country’s citizens.”

Unlike many criminals, these two went to trial rather than accept a plea agreement. Their trial lasted three days. A jury of their peers found them guilty of all charges. A federal judge sentenced the man to 30 years in federal prison where there is no early release and his girlfriend to 25 years in federal prison. The judge also ordered them to pay over $8,000 in restitution and upon their release, serve 5 years of supervised release.

Source: U.S. District Court, Department of Justice, United States FBI, Fox 17 WZTV Nashville

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