Man pleads guilty to Farmville armed robbery

Published 12:41 am Thursday, September 15, 2022

FARMVILLE – A 54-year-old New York man pleaded guilty Wednesday, Sept. 14 to committing an armed robbery in Farmville. 

Court records show the incident happened on July 16, 2020. That’s when Herbert Young III admits he robbed the Farmville auto dealership Auto Connection. The business is located on West Third Street near the intersection of Route 15 and U.S. 460 Business at Dowdy’s Corner.

During the robbery, Young physically restrained the victim’s hands using an electrical extension cord and a phone charging cord. When a customer entered the store, the victim attempted to free himself and flee. Before the victim could do so, Young shot at him and struck the calf area of the victim’s right leg.

Fleeing the scene, Young stole a 2000 BMW, a vehicle that belonged to the dealership. In addition to the car, he also took the victim’s cell phone and material the court records described as “other property belonging to the Auto Connection”. 

The victim, Auto Connection owner Zaki Stwodah, told his story to The Herald back in August 2020. After fleeing the store, he went to the house of a lady who lived nearby.

“She put two cold cloths on my leg (and) water,” he said at the time. “My foot was bleeding, and she called the sheriff’s department, she called the ambulance, she called my cousin, everybody.”

Stwodah said the bullet did not hit a bone. It was extracted at Centra Southside Community Hospital. 

Farmville case moves forward

Meanwhile, a security camera at the Auto Connection captured the robbery. Armed with that and the license plate of the BMW Young stole, he was arrested more than a month later. 

After pleading guilty, Young is now scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 5, 2023. He faces a maximum term of 20 years in prison for the robbery and a consecutive mandatory minimum term of 10 years in prison and maximum of life imprisonment for the discharge of the firearm. 

To be clear, however, officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia cautioned that actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalty. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.