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Young Man Sentenced to 4.5 to 10 Years for Multiple Robberies

August 7, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Monica W. Furber, 215.348.6297, mwfurber@buckscounty.org

Shane Wilcox-Wallace
  Shane Wilcox-Wallace

A young man from an abusive childhood who went on a robbery spree to feed his drug habit was sentenced Friday to serve four and one-half to 10 years in state prison.

Shane Wilcox-Wallace, 21, of Warminster, pleaded guilty to six robberies, the burglary of an occupied home and a theft, all committed between Jan. 14 and April 24, 2017.  

“You really didn’t have much of a chance growing up,” Bucks County Common Pleas Court Judge Wallace H. Bateman Jr. told Wilcox-Wallace, who said he had been abandoned as a young child by alcoholic and drug-addicted parents, then placed in a series of foster homes where he was beaten and sexually abused.

Wilcox-Wallace told Bateman he committed the robberies for money to buy drugs, saying he began using illegal drugs in his teens to cope with feelings of rejection and despair.

“Not wanting to be alone, I found myself running into the streets for answers,” he said. “I cried, but no one out there cared.”

Bateman agreed that Wilcox-Wallace was “a product of your environment in many ways,” but “that doesn’t excuse what you did…You led a reign of terror” for several weeks, he said.

On January 14, 2017, Wilcox-Wallace took $220 from a 7-Eleven store at 490 E. Butler Ave. in New Britain after donning a ski mask, brandishing a gun and demanding cash.

On March 9, 2017, Wilcox-Wallace accosted a man sitting in a car at the Creek Apartments in Warminster, pointed a gun at his head, and robbed the man of more than $500 cash and a cell phone.

On March 30, 2017, he robbed a 7-Eleven store at 100 S. Sycamore Street in Newtown, again wearing a ski mask and displaying a handgun. He robbed the store of more than $300.

On April 7, 2017, Wilcox-Wallace and two juveniles he had recruited robbed a 7-Eleven store at 5401 Neshaminy Boulevard in Bensalem of more than $500 and $238 in cigarettes after pointing a gun at the cashier and a customer. Earlier they tried to rob a second Bensalem 7-Eleven store at 3508 Street Road, but fled after a clerk saw two of them approaching the store with face masks on.

The three then returned to Warminster, where the two juveniles robbed the Sunoco store at 890 E. Street Road in Warminster, taking $300 while Wilcox-Wallace waited for them outside. Deputy District Attorney Monica W. Furber said Wilcox-Wallace instructed the younger teens in how to commit the robberies, telling them to “remain confident and act like they were in charge.”

The final robbery occurred on April 27, 2017, when Wilcox-Wallace arranged to meet a man who had posted his iPhone for sale on Craigslist for $375. The men met outside the same Warminster Sunoco that Wilcox-Wallace had helped rob three weeks earlier.

After taking the phone and verifying that it was in working order, Wilcox-Wallace pulled a gun, pointed it at the man and said, “You’re going to get back in your car and drive away.” The victim, using Wilcox-Wallace’s first name and location, later found his Facebook page and used his photo to identify him to Warminster police as the robber.

In addition to the robberies, Wilcox-Wallace pleaded guilty to burglarizing a home in the 200 block of Florence Avenue in Warminster. He admitted crawling through a window in search of money after banging loudly on the door, scaring the female occupant into running upstairs and hiding until he left.

"He’s 21 years old and he’s committed the types of crimes that typically send people to prison for decades,” Assistant Public Defender William D. Oetinger told Bateman, saying that Wilcox-Wallace is not a seasoned criminal, but the product of an abusive, unstable childhood.

“This is someone for whom there is hope,” Oetinger argued. “He’s redeemable. He’s able to be rehabilitated.”

Furber urged the judge not to minimize the effect of Wilcox-Wallace’s crimes.

“This is a three-month stretch in which the defendant went on a one-man crime spree that terrorized communities in Bucks County,” she said. He committed robberies with guns that appeared to be real, the prosecutor said, frightening victims who did not know they were pellet guns.

“This is not an individual who did not know what he was doing,” Furber said. “He knew exactly what he was doing.”

Wilcox-Wallace said he had “scared not only myself but other people. They had no idea if it was a real gun or a fake gun. I just feel terrible about that. They probably hate me.”

He told Bateman that he is now involved in AA and church functions in prison, and that his brother had offered him employment when he is released from prison.

Bateman sentenced Wilcox-Wallace to concurrent sentences of four and one-half to 10 years, followed by five years of consecutive probation, for the robberies. He ordered him to have no contact with his victims, to pay them almost $6,000 in restitution, and to undergo drug and alcohol and anger management treatment in prison.

The case was investigated by the Warminster Township Police Department, assisted by the Central Bucks Regional, Bensalem Township and Newtown Township Police Departments.

Office of the District Attorney
Bucks County Justice Center
100 N. Main Street
Doylestown, PA 18901 
Phone: 215-348-6344 
Fax: 215-348-6299

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