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Family forgives the man who stole dying Air Force veteran's wallet on Richmond bus

Posted at 4:09 PM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 18:25:27-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- The man arrested for stealing a wallet from an Air Force veteran suffering a heart attack onboard a Richmond bus was sentenced to jail time Friday in Richmond court.

Damontea Chappell was 20 years old when he stole 66-year-old Raymond Bass's wallet after Bass collapsed on a GRTC bus in September 2020.

The crime was captured on the bus security camera. When the video went public, Chappell turned himself into the police.

GRTC heart attack theft.jpg

Chappell pleaded guilty to a reduced misdemeanor larceny charge after the Bass family worked with prosecutors to show mercy on him.

"How do you put a punishment on something that is just morally wrong," Raymond's niece Cassandra Bass said. "He's a young guy and made not only this mistake but other mistakes. To tag a felony on him for this, we are just hoping that he's going to grow up and be a better person than he is right now."

After speaking with the Commonwealth's Attorney, the Bass family collectively agreed Raymond Bass would have forgiven Chappell.

So, the family helped to arrange a plea deal in which Chappell was sentenced to one year in jail with 10 days suspended. He was also ordered to pay restitution.

In court, Chappell asked if the Bass family was in the courtroom. They were not.

"Sure we wanted to hear what he had to say, but only if it was eye to eye in court and not video," Cassandra Bass said. "We are all kinda over it and made the decision, so we are good with it."