Woman in botched Taco Bell robbery sentenced to six years

Tia Lorrell Stevens

Tia Lorrell Stevens

CAMP VERDE -- The woman involved in an attempted Taco Bell robbery that resulted in an employee being assaulted was sentenced to six years in prison for her role in the crime Monday.

Tia Stevens, 37, appeared in custody Monday at the Yavapai County Superior Court in Camp Verde. Her family was also present in the courtroom.

Stevens’ husband, Robert, described Stevens as being loved in the neighborhood. He asked the court to be lenient in her sentencing.

“These past months of incarceration have been good,” he said. “She is a different person now than when she came in.”

In July, her accomplice, 19-year-old Zion Plotnikoff, was sentenced to a five-year prison term after pleading guilty to three counts of aggravated assault and one count of armed robbery.

In January, Stevens assisted Plotnikoff in the attempted robbery of a Taco Bell in Cottonwood. Stevens admitted to spraying pepper spray at a Taco Bell employee after being handed food at the drive-thru window. Surveillance video shows Plotnikoff climbing in the drive-thru window and assaulting the employee with the butt of what appeared to be a handgun. It was later revealed that the handgun was not real. No money was taken.

Stevens, who was the driver, fled the scene in a white pickup truck. According to Cottonwood Police, she fled from officers into desert terrain between Clarkdale and Cottonwood where a police car couldn’t travel.

Stevens and Plotnikoff were arrested within days of the robbery at separate locations, according to Cottonwood PD.

The two were originally pointing the blame at each other. Plotnikoff had told police that Stevens offered him 40 percent of the profits from the robbery but claimed he had no involvement in the robbery and that the other man in the vehicle was Stevens’ husband. Stevens had previously claimed that she did not know of Plotnikoff’s intentions to rob the Taco Bell until they had already pulled up to the window.

Stevens expressed remorse during her hearing.

“I’ve made my share of mistakes,” she said. “I can only move on and learn … time is the most precious thing I have and don’t have.”

Stevens’ attorney, John Hollis, said he doesn’t believe Stevens could have done the crime on her own.

“Together they became something else,” he said. “That’s the entity.”

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