Man sentenced to 20 years for robbing elderly woman, stealing her car in Va. Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – A judge sentenced Earl Lavern Sparks, 35, for carjacking, robbery, burglary and abduction in connection to a May 2017 incident, according to the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney.

The judge sentenced Sparks to 40 years in prison with 20 years suspended, leaving 20 years to serve. The sentencing was above the 14-year sentence at the high-end of the Virginia State Sentencing Guidelines.

Sparks pleaded guilty on October 16, 2017.

According to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, the victim, a 75-year-old widow, was alone at her home in the Aragona neighborhood of Virginia Beach.

Her front door was open and her screen door was unlocked when she heard a knock at the door. She didn’t see anyone at the door, so she locked it.

By that time, Earl Sparks had already snuck into her home and was hiding inside.

Sparks found a white cord and a steak knife and went upstairs in the victim’s room. He threw her to the ground, breaking her shoulder. He then tied her up to the bed and unplugged the phone to the wall.

Sparks took the victim’s debit card out of her purse and demanded the PIN. Her called her bank in an attempt to change the PIN, but was unsuccessful. Sparks took the victim’s phone, laptop, car keys, debit card and two televisions. He drove away in her Toyota RAV4.

The victim eventually freed herself and ran to a neighbor’s house to call police.

Police found a neighbor who had a surveillance camera. Sparks was seen on camera sneaking into the victim’s home and later loading stolen items into the victim’s car before driving away.

Police were familiar with Sparks, who was staying in the same neighborhood as the victim.

Four days later, the victim’s vehicle was found in Flint, Michigan, Sparks’ hometown. Police found out Sparks sold the car to a friend in Flint days after the robbery. Police located Sparks and took him into custody. Sparks fully confessed his involvement.

Sparks has a lengthy criminal record dating back to March, 2000.  His prior convictions include Driving without a License (2 counts), Failure to Submit Certificate of Insurance, Assault on Law Enforcement Officer (2 counts), Possession of Marijuana (Attempt), Contempt of Court, False ID to Law Enforcement, Obtaining Money by False Pretenses (3 counts), and multiple convictions for Failure to Appear and Community Diversion: Violation on Misdemeanor.