WACO, Texas, May 30 (UPI) -- A Texas jury has sentenced a man to 50 years in prison for the theft of a $35 rack of ribs, noting his criminal record includes five prior felony convictions.
Willie Smith Ward was sentenced Wednesday in Waco's 19th State District Court for the September 2011 robbery at an H-E-B grocery store, the Waco Tribune-Herald reported.
Prosecutors said Ward entered the store and tucked a large rack under his shirt, and then left.
Ward also threatened an employee who tried to stop him in the store parking lot, saying, "I got a knife," the employee testified.
When determining Ward's sentence, the jury took into account his criminal past, which includes five felony and four misdemeanor convictions.
"This verdict shows that the citizens of this county will not tolerate a continued disrespect and disregard for other people and their property," said assistant District Attorney J.R. Vicha, who prosecuted Ward. "People who choose to do so will be dealt with seriously and appropriately."