BARRE — An Essex Junction woman has been sentenced to time served for stealing a purse from a woman who said she’s ready to forgive.

Jamie R. Blake, 30, pleaded guilty Thursday in Washington County criminal court in Barre to a felony count of assault and robbery and a misdemeanor count of credit card fraud. Blake was sentenced to six months to three years to serve with credit for time served. She’s been held at Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility in South Burlington on $500 bail since her arrest in September.

The state agreed to drop a second misdemeanor count of credit card fraud, per the plea agreement.

Patrol Officer Justin Pickel, of the Berlin police, said in his affidavit on Aug. 25 he received a report about an assault and robbery that had taken place at the Walmart at the Berlin Mall. Pickel said he spoke to the victim who reported she was unloading her groceries when she felt something weird, like something was about to happen.

The victim told Pickel she turned around and saw a woman, later identified as Blake, get out of a vehicle and try to steal her purse. She reported she asked Blake not to steal her purse and Blake punched her, pinched her and knocked her shopping cart to the ground.

Pickel said he advised the victim to cancel all of her credit cards following the theft, but she wasn’t able to do so before one of them was used at the Shaw’s supermarket and the Village Market in Waterbury.

Pickel said he obtained surveillance footage from both stores that showed Blake using the stolen card.

At Thursday’s hearing, the victim gave a statement saying she still gets nervous leaving stores and talked about leaving a store recently where she got anxious.

“My heart was pounding, I was sweating,” the victim said.

The victim said she had to remind herself that she was safe.

But she told Blake she was pulling for her. Blake has a substance use issue that led her to steal the purse; the victim said she’s ready to forgive Blake. She told her she doesn’t hate Blake and this incident doesn’t have to define her.

Blake apologized to the victim for what she put the victim through. She told the victim she will learn from this and be better.

Judge Mary Morrissey said sometimes there are powerful moments in the courtroom and this case was one of them. The judge said the victim being so candid, honest and forgiving is a testament to both the victim and the community.

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