MOUNT VERNON, Mo. — A Virginia man was sentenced to five years in prison Tuesday for kidnapping an elderly Lawrence County woman with dementia in an attempt to defraud her in a driveway repair scam.

Perrin Cooper, 36, pleaded guilty in Lawrence County Circuit Court to a count of first-degree kidnapping in a plea deal dismissing a related count of attempted theft.

The plea agreement called for the defendant, who was facing the possibility of up to 30 years in prison on the kidnapping charge alone, to receive a term of five years on the conviction. Judge David Cole accepted the plea bargain and imposed the agreed-upon length of sentence.

Cooper, of Williamsburg, Virginia, went to the victim’s rural residence on July 20, 2020, with two other men in a pickup truck with Illinois license plates and equipment in the back associated with pavement sealing businesses.

Photos taken by a trail camera the woman’s family had installed on her property purportedly showed the men spreading sealant over a small portion of her driveway before leaving with her seated in their truck.

A Monett bank teller informed law enforcement that the woman came to the bank in the company of two unknown men who were attempting to withdraw $4,200 from her account.

Cooper, who was wanted at the time in Virginia in a grand larceny case, was identified by Lawrence County sheriff’s investigators as one of the men with the assistance of Illinois state troopers and Department of Revenue photos.

The affidavit filed with the court states that the defendant has a criminal history in six states, including arrests for fraud, drug possession and robbery as well as for murder, a charge that was subsequently lowered to robbery.

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