FALL RIVER — A Fall River man who broke into cars and tried assaulting people in a Walmart parking lot in 2017 has been sentenced to prison.

The Bristol County District Attorney's Office says William Wrightington, 46, of Fall River, was convicted last week and sentenced to serve five years in state prison and three years of supervised probation upon his release. Wrightington pleaded guilty on Friday to a multi-count indictment charging him with armed robbery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault with a dangerous weapon, breaking and entering, and breaking and entering — putting a person in fear.

On December 21, 2017, a man was sitting in his car in the Walmart parking lot in Fall River, waiting for his work shift to begin when Wrightington parked his truck next to the victim's vehicle. Wrightington then smashed the victim's driver's side window with a hammer, causing the glass to strike the victim's face, resulting in minor cuts to his nose and chin. Wrightington then threatened the man with a box cutter and demanded money. The victim showed Wrightington that his wallet was empty. Wrightington then threatened to shoot the man with a gun. The victim placed his car into reverse and backed away from Wrightington before running into the store for help.

Nearby, a second victim was exiting the Staples store when he observed Wrightington exiting his car while holding a camera. The victim asked Wrightington to drop the camera, but he refused. Wrightington began to walk away with the victim following him, continuing his demands for Wrightington to drop the camera. Wrightington then turned around, inferred that he had a weapon, and began chasing the man around the parking lot. Off-duty Fall River Police Officer Luis Vertentes saw the commotion and began to approach Wrightington, who had retreated to his truck. Officer Vertentes confronted Wrightington, who refused to leave his truck. Wrightington was forcibly pulled out of the vehicle and detained by Officer Vertentes until uniformed officers arrived and arrested him.

“This is a very violent incident that must have terrified the victim. Although the defendant was apparently drinking alcohol before the violent encounter, this conduct is outrageous and cannot be tolerated,” Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn said.

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