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Amherst woman gets jail time for petit larceny, falsely reporting robbery at a Lovingston restaurant
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Amherst woman gets jail time for petit larceny, falsely reporting robbery at a Lovingston restaurant

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An Amherst woman was sentenced to a month in jail Monday after pleading guilty to one count of petit larceny and false reporting of a robbery at a Lovingston eatery.

Tonya Silver, 51, was arrested in early February and charged with felony embezzlement — which on Monday in Nelson Circuit Court was amended to petit larceny and falsely summoning law enforcement — after the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office responded to reports of a robbery at the Subway in Lovingston.

The sheriff’s office and Virginia State Police responded to the scene within minutes of the report, which claimed more than $1,200 had been stolen from the restaurant Feb. 1. No injuries were reported.

According to a news release from the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office shortly after Silver’s arrest, an investigation was conducted with assistance from an Amherst County Sheriff’s Office K-9 team, and several individuals were interviewed to determine the events surrounding the reported robbery.

Nelson County Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Will Flory said Silver claimed to authorities a Black man came to the back of the business and demanded money from the cash register and safe. Investigators found video footage and could not corroborate the claims, Flory said.

Investigators could find no physical evidence that backed up Silver’s claim of a robber in the back and concluded the report was false.

In finding Silver guilty of the felony and misdemeanor, Judge Michael Doucette sentenced her to six years with all but a month suspended in accordance with a plea agreement. He also ordered her to pay $1,759 in restitution, which Flory said included the amount taken and costs connected with security at the business following the incident.

“I’m just sorry all of this took place,” Silver said when given the chance to speak in court.

Doucette said her actions tied up law enforcement resources in attempting to track down the story of a man who didn’t do anything wrong and such actions lead to wrongful accusations and undermine the criminal justice system. The judge said a message needs to be sent that such actions will not be tolerated.

Silver is ordered to begin serving her active one-month sentence at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail in early January.

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