WATERLOO -- A Waterloo woman has been sentenced to prison in a 2015 cell phone holdup where she displayed a knife before taking money from the store's register and safe.
Judge David Odekirk sentenced Cheryl Lyn Little Wanchanic, 43, to up to 25 years in prison, on Jan. 23, and under Iowa law, Wanchanic must serve 17 and half years before she is eligible for parole.
During a December trial, a jury found Wanchanic guilty of first-degree robbery in the Nov. 25, 2015, holdup at Iowa Wireless, 1523 E. San Marnan Drive. Authorities said Wanchanic entered the store shortly before closing with her face covered and briefly opened her coat to show a large knife inside. She demanded money and told the clerk than an alleged accomplis outside would shoot the employee if she didn't comply.
After raiding the register and the safe, Wanchanic made the employee lock herself in the store's restroom while she fled, dropping cash.
Investigators identifed a vehicle that had dropped off Wanchanic in the area before the robbery and found that she had later asked a neighbor to hold onto her set of kitchen knives and had texted a relative that she "did a holdup."
Wanchanic has a prior burglary conviction in connection with a 1993 homicide where a 67-year-old woman was killed in a New Jersey apartment. The slaying had gone unsolved until 2004 when Wanchanic and others were arrested. Wanchanic pleaded to a lesser charge as part of an agreement to testify at trial, which resulted in the acquittal of the co-defendants. She was sentenced to probation for the burglary charge.