The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

January 31, 2014

Teen girl going to jail for role in armed heist

By Joe Wiercinski
Herald Staff Writer

FREDONIA — The Fredonia girl who drove the getaway car in a gas station robbery has been sentenced to a term in Mercer County Jail.

Jenna Marie Wygant, 17, of 99 Fredonia-Hadley Road, was charged as an adult in the Dec. 1, 2012, robbery of Dye’s Service Station, 2295 Mercer Road, Stoneboro.

Wygant drove back and forth to the business where Shantasia C. Kirchell, 20, of 33 Mill St., Sandy Lake, brandished a pistol and stole money that state police said the two used to buy crack cocaine.

Kirchell was sentenced in September to 3 to 10 years in a state prison for her part in the crime.

The store was owned by a friend of Kirchell’s stepfather. She was wearing a mask and gloves during the robbery.

Wygant got the gun from a relative and wore a disguise, police said, adding that the two later burned their clothes in a wood burner at Wygant’s home.

Mercer County Common Pleas Court President Judge Thomas R. Dobson referred to problems Wygant has had growing up, including abuse by her stepfather, but noted that she has to decide for herself the direction her life will take.

She had been charged initially with two counts of conspiracy to commit robbery, conspiracy to commit theft, receiving stolen property, conspiracy to commit simple assault, tampering with evidence, carrying a gun without a license and possessing instrument of crime.

She pleaded guilty Nov. 15 to a single charge of criminal conspiracy to commit robbery.

“I know you are young and you have dreams,” Dobson said. “But you must understand how much what you have done has undercut your chances in the world.”

Dobson said he was especially concerned that Wygant’s education has been interrupted because of her criminal involvement.

“I’m not ready to give up on you,” he said. “That’s what I would be doing if I were to send you to the state penitentiary.”

Dobson sentenced Wygant to 9 months in Mercer County Jail to be followed by 4 years on probation. He gave her 21 days’ credit for time already served in jail.

Wygant and Kirchell each must pay half of $160 in restitution to the business owner, Dobson said.