The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Monday, October 1, 2012
By KEN BRADLEY - Staff Writer
A Ferrum woman was sentenced to 24 years in prison last week in Roanoke Circuit Court for selling wedding rings stolen from veterans at a health care center.
All but five years of the sentence imposed on Ashley Michelle Sweeney, 23, were suspended by Circuit Court Judge Clifford Weckstein.
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Josh Dietz said Sweeney testified during her sentencing hearing that she sold the stolen rings to support her drug addiction.
Sweeney pleaded guilty on July 10 to four counts of receiving stolen property and four counts of selling stolen property, Dietz said.
Sweeney was a nurses' assistant at the Virginia Veterans' Center in Roanoke when the ring thefts occurred.
Another nurses' assistant, Brittney Heather Cook , 23, of Rocky Mount, stole the rings from patients and gave them to Sweeney, who sold them at two pawn shops, Dietz said.
Cook, who pleaded no contest in July to four counts of grand larceny and four counts of selling stolen property, is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 3.
Sweeney and Cook were working as contract nurses' assistants when they were arrested in February during the investigation into wedding ring thefts at the veterans' care center.
The rings were sold at pawn shops for $360, Dietz said. An appraisal of the rings valued them at $4,600.
The victims were elderly, ranging in age 77 to 89, and had served either in World War II or the Korean War, Dietz said.
Four of the five rings that were stolen have been returned to their owners.
Both women are barred from working as nurses' assistants and from having contact with each other, Dietz added.