Willie James Sauls, 37, snatched a purse off the arm of an 84-year-old woman outside a shop in Austin, Texas last September.

Handing down the sentence – which sends Sauls to prison for more years than he has been alive – District Judge Bob Perkins said the criminal had been to jail for robbery before, which was good reason for a long stint.

The logic appears to be that, seeing as Sauls has served time for similar crimes, he has not learned his lesson and should be locked up so that he cannot reoffend.

Arguing for a long sentence, prosecutor Geoffrey Puryear said that Sauls had “already had chances to address the issues with his behaviour”.

A security camera had captured the robbery, during which Sauls pretended to hold the door open for his victim and then knocked her to the floor, which reportedly left her handicapped.

As Sauls will be 82 at the end of his 45-year stint, it is essentially a life sentence.

Sauls is not the first person to be handed a lengthy sentence for street robbery in Texas. Steven Keller, 30, received 45 years in June for punching a woman in the face and stealing her purse. 

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