Richmond Woman Pleads Guilty To Planning Robberies

Helped Boyfriend Rob Her Employer

October 03, 2019 - 4:07 pm

News Radio 1140 WRVA


RICHMOND, Va. ( – A Richmond woman has been sentenced to nearly 13 years in prison for aiding and abetting multiple robberies, and aiding and abetting the brandishing of a firearm during one of those robberies. 

According to court documents, Christina Pilgrim, 37, met Ali Cousins, Jr. around the year 2017 when Cousins brought his son to Pilgrim’s daycare center which she operated out of her home. The two entered into a romantic relationship shortly after meeting. Pilgrim was married at the time.  While also operating the daycare center, Pilgrim worked at the Dollar Tree at 8920 Patterson Avenue, Henrico.  Prosecutors alleged that when Cousins began to suffer financial difficulties in 2018, Pilgrim suggested to him that he could rob the Dollar Tree where she worked. She assured him that the business would be easy to rob. Cousins decided to rob the store and relied on information Pilgrim provided, particularly the store employees who would work on a given night and the location of safes and cameras in the store, to carry out the robberies. Additionally, Pilgrim provided Cousins access to a firearm that her husband owned and left in her home which Cousins could use during the robberies.  Cousins robbed the store five times between the months of March and September 2018.

During one robbery which occurred in August 2018, Pilgrim informed Cousins that the store manager to the Dollar Tree would make the nightly bank deposit at a nearby Wells Fargo bank.  Cousins decided that he would rob the store manager as the manager made the deposit, and Pilgrim drove Cousins to the Wells Fargo to wait for the store manager to arrive. Pilgrim watched as the store manager left the Dollar Tree and informed Cousins when the manager was on his way to the bank. When the manager arrived, Cousins completed the robbery and Pilgrim picked Cousins up afterward. 

For the last robbery in September 2018, Pilgrim provided Cousins access to her husband’s vehicle which Cousins used to complete the robbery. Cousins and an accomplice, Bryant Williams, then traveled to the Dollar Tree and entered the store just before closing. Pilgrim, who was working at the store at the time, saw Cousins and Williams arrive and enter the restroom of the store to wait for the right opportunity to complete the robbery. While Cousins and Williams waited, Pilgrim sent text messages to Cousins regarding others in the store being suspicious of them when they came to the store. Soon after that text message, Cousins and Williams completed the robbery and fled the store.  Law enforcement would arrest Cousins the same night and would arrest Williams several months later. 

Cousins pleaded guilty and admitted to having committed the five robberies. Williams, and another accomplice, Anthony Simmons, whom Cousins recruited for the first robbery, also pleaded guilty to their roles in the individual robberies they performed with Cousins.