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A James City County man found guilty of eight counts of grand larceny with intent to distribute was sentenced to 24 years in prison in Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Court on Wednesday.
Lawrence Waltrip III was found guilty of stealing up to 360 yards of mulch from Peninsula Hardwood Mulch in a bench trial last September.
Waltrip, who ran his own mulch company called Signature Mulch out of his home in St. George’s Hundred, stole eight truckloads of mulch valued at around $8,000 in eight separate incidents between May and July 2013.
The owner of Peninsula Hardwood Mulch took the stand at Wednesday’s sentencing hearing to testify about the financial and emotional impact of the crimes against his business.
“It’s put a very large financial burden on us,” the owner said. “I’ve seen no remorse from [Waltrip]. I’ve seen nothing.”
The owner went on to ask that Waltrip be ordered to cease contact with him and stay off his property because of an incident that occurred the day before the hearing – Waltrip showed up at one of Peninsula Hardwood Mulch’s locations and asked the manager there, who testified for the prosecution during the trial, to write a letter recanting some of his testimony.
When Waltrip took the stand he confirmed that he had asked the manager to correct what he maintains was inaccurate testimony.
Waltrip also testified about his role as the owner of his small business and the responsibility he bears for his employees.
“Is it fair to say that if you go to jail today, at least ten people would be out of a job?” Waltrip’s attorney Brandon Waltrip asked him on the stand. Lawrence Waltrip confirmed this statement.
Judge Michael McGinty ultimately sentenced Waltrip to three years for each count of grand larceny, but he suspended all but two months of that time. Waltrip will be allowed to serve the active portion of his sentence on weekends so he can continue to run his business during the week.
McGinty also complied with the victim’s request Waltrip be barred from contacting him and ordered the defendant to pay Peninsula Hardwood Mulch $8,000 in restitution.