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Mother sent to prison for armed robbery
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A young mother who went on a robbery spree will serve 15 years with no parole for her armed heist of a check cashing business in McMinnville.
The woman, Patricia Johnson East, 23, entered a guilty plea before Circuit Court Judge Bart Stanley to the charge of robbery. She accepted a 15-year sentence to be served in the women’s state penitentiary with no chance of parole. That sentence will be served at the same time as sentences for similar heists in surrounding counties.
Her robbery spree ended when she hit Cash and Dash on Chancery Street, robbing the establishment at gunpoint in broad daylight before fleeing in her vehicle in the direction of DeKalb County. She was stopped in DeKalb County since her car matched the description of the vehicle spotted outside the store.
Officers found the 45-caliber handgun used in the heist during their search, along with a coat and hat she wore. She would later confess to the Cash and Dash robbery, as well as two other robberies in the Midstate.
“She admitted she was involved in three armed robberies of check cashing places within two weeks,” said McMinnville police investigator Todd Rowland, noting the suspect, while wielding a large gun, was always nice to her victims. “She was nice and polite when she would rob people.”
Rowland said East is not the typical armed robber as it’s rare for a woman to commit such a crime.
“She does not fit the profile at all of a robber,” Rowland said. “First, we see very few women actually committing robberies, and second she is educated with a degree in kinesiology from LSU. Plus she had a job making money so I don’t think money was the issue.”
It was her job with a billboard and sign company which she used to cover her actions as she was scoping out potential businesses to rob. Her confessions have been backed up by surveillance video as she did not wear a mask.
East is the mother of a 3-year-old boy who is in the custody of his father. East had resided in Cookeville.