Woman accused of robbery spree may enter plea deal
A 41-year-old woman accused of committing a series of crimes throughout the Salt Lake Valley may have reached a deal with prosecutors to resolve more than a dozen charges against her.
Sandra Chotia-Thompson faces 13 charges, including attempted aggravated murder, in a robbery spree that police said spanned December to January, when Chotia-Thompson's alleged partner in crime, 38-year-old Kelly Fay Simons, was shot dead by officers.
For months, Chotia-Thompson's attorney and prosecutors have been working to resolve the charges in an all-encompassing agreement.
On Friday, defense attorney Michael Peterson told 3rd District Judge Katie Bernards-Goodman that he and prosecutors had worked out a resolution to Chotia-Thompson's case and asked that the dates for her upcoming trial be cancelled.
She will return to court at the end of this month for a scheduled change of plea in the case, according to court documents.
Charges allege Chotia-Thompson committed holdups at The Grocery Store in Salt Lake City, a Scaddy's Restaurant and a Family Dollar Store in Murray, crimes that included stealing a vehicle, fleeing from police and shooting at a Murray police officer.
But search warrants show police also investigated crimes at eight more businesses that Chotia-Thompson and Simons were accused of robbing or attempting to rob.
The women wore wigs, masks, oversized trench coats, gloves and hats to conceal their identities as they committed the heists, warrants state. Because of this, reports varied: Some witnesses described the robbers as young men, others as old men, others still as women in costume.
But the execution of the robberies was consistent: One woman would enter the store in disguise, order something at the counter or make her way to the cashier, and as an employee rang her up, the suspect would pull a gun, demand money in a bag, then run to a getaway car.
Similar robberies were reported at a McDonald's at 1533 S. State St., a US Bank branch at 2243 E. 2100 South, Baskin-Robbins at 1465 E. 2100 South, Alchemy Coffee at 390 E. 1700 South, Red Mango yogurt shop at 1511 E. 2100 South, the Yogurt Shop at 2153 E. 2100 South, Movies 10 in Sugar House and Sconecutter at 2040 S. State St.
Simons was killed Jan. 9 by officers near Liberty Park when she allegedly tried to run down an officer with her pickup. Inside the truck, officers discovered bullets, cartridges and a clown mask believed to have been used in hold-ups, documents state.
Upon searching a trailer the women shared, police found three wigs and a black ski mask, documents say. Inside the tan sedan that Chotia-Thompson is accused of driving during most of the crime spree, police reportedly found slugs, a gun holster, bank receipts, checkbooks, ski masks, jackets, gloves, hats, binoculars, wigs, bolt cutters, needles, a syringe and jackets.
She has been charged with first-degree felony attempted aggravated murder, aggravated burglary and four counts of aggravated robbery, two counts of second-degree felony attempted aggravated robbery, third-degree felony attempted theft and tampering with evidence, and misdemeanor failure to respond to an officer and failure to stop at an officer's command.
If convicted, Chotia-Thompson could spend up to life in prison.