Woman sentenced to 44 years for crime spree that left elderly woman seriously injured

A woman that seriously injured an elderly woman while trying to steal her purse will be behind bars for more than four decades.

Prosecutors call Lea Ann Roberts, 53, a career criminal. She was convicted this week on numerous charges, including Aggravated Robbery, Impersonating a Licensed Professional, Unauthorized Use of a Credit Card, Unlawful Possession of a Handgun, and three counts of Forgery.

Her crime spree started on August 18, 2015, according to investigators. They say Roberts was at  an appointment at Cherokee Health when she stole her health care provider's purse, then used the victim's credit card at Wal-mart. 

She was caught and charged for that theft, but while out on bond, prosecutors say she robbed and seriously injured an 85-year-old woman on November 8.

The victim, whose name is Peggy, told 10News that she was loading groceries into her car outside the Ingles in Farragut when Roberts offered to help. Peggy said yes, but Roberts grabbed her purse. During a struggle, Peggy fell and broke her leg and arm.

Twenty minutes later, investigators say Roberts went  to Parkwest Medical Center,  impersonated a worker, and went into a patient's room, stealing that patient's purse.

In addition, Roberts stole her mother's checkbook and pawned property belonging to other family members.

“This brazen career criminal targeted victims who were at their most vulnerable,” said DA Charme Allen. “She targeted the elderly, the infirm, and those that trusted her most. She earned every day of the lengthy sentence she received.”

Roberts was sentenced to 44 years in prison after reaching a plea agreement. She has nine prior felony convictions for Forgery and Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud.

(© 2016 WBIR)


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