Fri, Oct. 18

Woman in attempted Taco Bell robbery takes plea agreement

Tia Lorrell Stevens

Tia Lorrell Stevens

CAMP VERDE -- The woman involved in an attempted Taco Bell robbery where an employee was assaulted took a plea deal for her role in the crime Monday.

Tia Stevens, 37, pleaded guilty on six charges including aggravated assault, unlawful flight from pursuing law enforcement, and tampering with evidence, court records state.

Earlier this month, Prosecuting Attorney Patti Wortman told the court that at the time of the incident, Stevens was out on release after a probation violation from an aggravated assault case that occurred in 2015. This case adds another year to her sentence.

Stevens’ sentencing hearing is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 20. John Hollis, Stevens’ attorney, recommended a mental health evaluation.

Stevens was originally facing a maximum sentence of 52 years if she had chosen to go to trial and was found guilty on all counts. The plea deal offers a ceiling of 24.5 years with a stipulation of no less than five years.

In January, Stevens assisted 19-year-old Zion 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 still claims that she did not know of Plotnikoff’s intentions to rob the Taco Bell until they had already pulled up to the window.

On June 11, Plotnikoff pleaded guilty to five felony charges of attempted armed robbery, attempted aggravated robbery, first-degree burglary and two charges of aggravated assault. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Monday, July 2.

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