GREENFIELD — A woman who robbed a post office customer at gunpoint last year pleaded guilty to robbery Tuesday and blamed her actions on drugs, telling the court she was high at the time of the heist.
After lengthy debate between the prosecutor and defense, Circuit Court Judge Richard Culver sentenced Sharon Gantt, 47, of Greenfield, to six years in prison.
Gantt told the court she had been abusing her anti-anxiety medication and was under the influence of the drug when she pulled out a handgun and demanded cash from a woman in the parking lot of the Greenfield post office last September.
“That’s why I will strive for the rest of my life to stay away from that poisonous drug,” she said during the hearing Tuesday. “It was an addiction. Drug addiction is a terrible thing.”
Gantt had been in line behind the victim at PNC Bank in Greenfield minutes earlier. Police said she watched the woman make a sizeable withdrawal and then followed her to the post office with the intention of robbing her.
She parked behind the woman’s vehicle, got out and told the woman she had a flat tire. When the woman got out of her car, Gantt pulled out the gun.
Gantt took the $2,700 the woman had just withdrawn and then fled the scene – but not before the victim saw her license plate.
Gantt was in custody within two hours of the crime, thanks to the victim’s description of her vehicle and ability to provide a partial license plate number.
Greenfield Police Capt. Brian Guinn, who was patrolling the area, looking for the car, spotted a car matching its description at a home in the 600 block of South Pennsylvania Street around two hours after the robbery.
Gantt was arrested at the house without incident.
Tuesday in Hancock Circuit Court, the prosecutor on the case, Grey Chandler, asked Gantt when she decided to rob the woman.
But Gantt seemed to have little recollection of the event.
“When I look back on that day, it’s like I was in a fog,” she said.
Chandler told the judge he didn’t think Gantt had accepted responsibility for her actions.
“I think it’s too easy for people to say it was drugs,” he said. “This is still a serious, violent offense.”
The victim did not testify but provided a victim impact statement, which Chandler read aloud to the court.
The woman said Gantt had threatened to kill her.
“I really believe she would have,” the statement read. “I can still see her there with the gun and feel it in my side.”
Gantt’s sentence calls for time in prison, but if she successfully completes a drug-rehabilitation program while in prison, the court will consider moving her to a work-release program, Culver said.