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Man pleads guilty to attempted robbery in Spotsylvania dispute over mismatched socks
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Man pleads guilty to attempted robbery in Spotsylvania dispute over mismatched socks

Howard Waugh (copy)


A man who pulled a gun last year during a dispute in Spotsylvania County involving some mismatched socks was convicted Thursday of attempted robbery.

Howard Thomas Waugh, 63, of Rhoadesville, entered the guilty plea in Spotsylvania Circuit Court. As part of a plea agreement, five other charges were dropped, including a second attempted robbery charge.

According to court records, deputies responded to Durango’s in the 4200 block of Plank Road the afternoon of Aug. 27 after a young woman complained that Waugh had pulled a gun on her and another young woman.

The women, both in their 20s, told deputies they worked for C Events and were selling bags containing socks and other items. Waugh used his credit card to make a $20 purchase from the women, according to the evidence. Waugh had just purchased a round of drinks for patrons at the bar, but there were conflicting stories about whether the women were among those being treated.

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Court records state that Waugh followed the women into the parking lot and told them they needed to give everyone their money back. He said the mismatched socks that were in his bag was not what he was expecting.

One victim, Grace Leavitt, called the police after Waugh displayed a gun and said something about killing the women. When Waugh realized that Leavitt had followed through on her threat to call the police, he left the dispute and walked out of sight behind Durango’s.

Waugh admitted he was upset about the purchase he’d made, but he denied displaying or even having a gun. But deputies later found a gun behind that business where Waugh had gone, and determined that the weapon had been purchased by Waugh’s wife in 2018.

Waugh then acknowledged having the gun, but continued to deny pulling it out during the dispute. He said he simply wanted his money back because the women had “ripped me off.”

Court records state that surveillance cameras supported the women’s versions of the incident and showed Waugh handling a gun during the interaction.

Waugh was allowed to remain free on bond pending his sentencing, which is scheduled for July 12. Attorney Eugene Frost is representing Waugh.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

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