A 41-year-old Fort Wayne man with a lengthy criminal history was sentenced to 80 years in prison Monday for a violent robbery that ended with significant injuries to a local business owner.
In October, an Allen Superior Court jury convicted Anthony Winder of robbery causing serious bodily injury, attempted robbery causing serious bodily injury and being a habitual offender. He and his daughter, Angela Tate, went to the used auto sales lot of Alex Palermo at 3711 N. Wells St. to steal auto parts, which are often stolen for scrap because of the precious metals inside.
Tate, who was then 21, admitted to serving as her father’s lookout while he cut off catalytic converters. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a two-year suspended prison sentence for theft and resisting law enforcement.
When made aware of the pair’s presence on his lot, Palermo left his home nearby and went to confront them. He testified Tuesday that about 100 catalytic converters had been stolen from his car lot over two years. They cost between $400 and $1,000 apiece to replace, he said.
Palermo first encountered Tate, who called for her father. Winder came out from beneath a nearby car and punched or pushed Palermo in the face. Armed with a handgun, Palermo tackled Winder. Tate then took a reciprocating saw, which her father was using to cut off catalytic converters, and struck Palermo in the back of the head, fracturing his skull, according to court records.
During Monday’s sentencing hearing, Winder apologized to his daughter and Palermo for what happened.
“I believe God has forgiven me,” he said. “I’m ready to go to prison and do my time.”
Allen Superior Court Judge John Surbeck found nothing to consider in Winder’s favor when he issued a sentence. Instead, Surbeck said Winder’s lengthy criminal history, the premeditation and planning involved in the attempted theft, and his involving his daughter were all facts to be considered against him.
“You should be ashamed of yourself for bringing your daughter along to do your dirty work,” Surbeck said.
Surbeck also stressed that Palermo had every right to protect his property and bore none of the responsibility for the injuries he suffered.
Surbeck sentenced Winder to a total of 50 years in prison on the robbery charges, but ordered those sentences to be served at the same time.
He then sentenced Winder to an additional 30 years for being a habitual offender.
Winder had five prior felonies – including convictions for robbery, dealing cocaine and battery.