Man Sentenced to 32-Month Prison Term For Robbing a Woman

Photo by PoPville flickr user KJinDC

From MPD:

Vincent Shingler, 24, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to two years and eight months in prison for a robbery that took place in Northwest Washington last summer, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.

Shingler pled guilty in December 2012 in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to a robbery charge. He was sentenced by the Honorable Gerald I. Fisher. Upon completion of his prison term, Shingler will be placed on three years of supervised release.

According to the government’s evidence, Shingler came from behind and approached the victim, a Howard University graduate student, at about 4:15 p.m. on Aug. 22, 2012. The victim was headed toward home from campus, listening to a book on tape, when she was accosted in the 700 block of Quincy Street NW. Shingler snatched her iPhone and ran.

The victim, who had only been in Washington, D.C. for a week, after moving here from Alaska, cried out for help and multiple eyewitnesses came to her aid. However, Shingler was able to successfully get away. Then, about two weeks after the robbery, the victim saw Shingler enter a local store and called police. Members of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) arrested Shingler in the 700 block of Rock Creek Church Road NW.

In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the work of the MPD officers and detectives who investigated the case. He also thanked those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Assistant Todd McClelland and Intelligence Specialist Sharon Johnson. Finally, he acknowledged the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorney Phil Selden, of the Superior Court Felony Major Crimes Section who prosecuted the case.

26 Comment

  • Eek — the robbery happened just a few blocks from me.

    Nice work by the victim on recognizing the guy and calling the police!

  • A week after moving here from Alaska! Man.

  • Can a criminal lawyer please shed some light here? How is it possible to have someone arrested by just pointing them out on the street for something that allegedly happened a week ago? And is this allegation enough for the police to investigate and therefore (presumably) find some evidence – i.e., the stolen phone?

    • A random street identification is stronger than a police lineup/photo identification, because there is no suggestion to the victim by the police that the attacker is one of the people in the line up. A victim’s identification of an attacker would be enough to get search warrants for additional evidence. This article does not make it clear, but it is possible Shingler was arrested for an outstanding warrant when the victim identified him.

    • Ya, I don’t understand what the issue is. This seems one of the most reliable means of establishing suspicion/probable cause there could be. Are you worried that someone could just make up an accusation about someone out of malice, or that there would be mistaken identification?

  • Seems like a rather long sentence for a snatch and run. Just me?

    • Sure does, especially when pleading to Murder 2 only gets you 15-20 in this town!

    • I was thinking the same thing, considering how lightly some other crimes – like rape and serious assault – are penalized.

      I’m thinking that this guy might already be on probation and a suspended sentence was added to the sentence for the grab n’ go.

    • austindc

      Does seem long. . . like a snatch and run on sentence.

    • The sentence is the judge’s decision, withing sentencing guidelines.

      These punks usually have an arrest list a mile long, along with previous convictions. When they get a conviction, the prosecutor wants to put them away for a while.

      He will be out in a year, and doing the same stuff. It is all he knows how to do.

      • The DC sentencing guidelines are discretionary, allowing a judge to depart both upward or downward if they deem necessary.

        It’s great that justice was done in this case, but readers must realize that 95% of those sent to prison/jail will eventually return to the community, such as Mr Shinger. And of those close to 70% will wind up back in the CJS. Is that justice?

    • yep, just you. personally i think this town could use a couple of executions for crap like this.

    • I thought it seemed too short. Maybe if there were actual consequences instead of a slap on the wrist these kids would think twice about snatching an iphone or worse…

      • The few people who have actually studied the matter scientifically found that lengthening prison sentences for a crime has no significant effect in deterring that crime.

        The 16-to-25-year-old cohort that accounts for most crime isn’t really big into impulse control and long-term-thinking.

        If you want to reduce crime, think about the reasons YOU didn’t grow up to be a street criminal (it probably wasn’t the threat of prison), and work to have more people grow up that way.

        • yes, we absolutely need to focus on preventing people from becoming criminals. and sentences are not deterrents. you are right. but once people become criminals, the longer they are off the street the better off we non criminals are. prison terms are not about deterrent but about keeping the rest of us safe. prevention and punishment are both important.

  • Jesus. 2 1/2 years for a stolen phone? Isn’t this movie up for an Oscar this weekend?

    • what is the appropriate length of time to serve for theft of a phone?

      • A replacement phone and a couple of thousand bucks for what she went through. W/o restitution maybe a week?

        • The problem is that the robberies are getting increasingly violent – not just loss of a phone, but sometimes ending up in the hospital or with a severe lifetime disability, like the guy on Capitol Hill.

          As a prosecuter and judge, you need to get these thugs off the street before they cause more damage to others and the community.

        • a first time juvenile i can see being lenient with. a 24 year old man? no. i want sentences increased for adults. a phone isn’t like a scarf. it contains personal information, schedules, contact info. these are not simple “phones” and the consequences of fucking with someone to that degree should be harsh.

  • “Upon completion of his prison term, Shingler will be placed on three years of supervised release.”

    I didn’t know the MPD wrote comedy!

  • the prosecutor gave a powerful story of the crime

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