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Man faces 10 years in prison for $20 crime

A man from Jersey City could face as long as 10 years' prison time for a sandwich shop robbery that yielded a $20 haul, according to local authorities. The man, who was convicted of the 2011 robbery in early December, reportedly threatened workers at the store before making off with the cash in their tip jar. Locals are calling the conviction a victory for area small business owners, but others wonder whether the severe sentence really fits the size of the crime in this felony case.

The man was accused of robbing a Subway sandwich store on Montgomery Street on Dec. 22, 2011, almost exactly one year ago. The 31-year-old reportedly threatened a store employee and demanded money. He was unable to access the cash register, however, because the workers did not have the key, so he grabbed the money from the tip jar and left the establishment.

Jersey City police officers looked at the security tape from the incident, and the man was identified more than a month later. The victims also identified the man during the trial. Jurors returned a guilty verdict after four hours' deliberation following the three-day trial.

The man will face five to 10 years' prison time in connection with the incident. It is not clear whether the man brandished a weapon during the crime. An armed robbery charge would certainly warrant a more severe sentencing guideline.

In this case, it is possible that the man could have pleaded guilty to obtain a reduced sentence. Instead of facing a jury trial, he could have admitted to the crime, which could have kept him out of jail entirely. The man may have had additional criminal violations in his past, which may have raised the sentencing guidelines to their seemingly unreasonable value.

The amount of evidence accumulated in the case against this man would lead many attorneys to advise a guilty plea. Suspects who risk a jury trial may face a more difficult road than those who admit their involvement in criminal activity.

Source: The Jersey Journal, "Jersey City man faces 10 years in prison for $20 robbery," Michaelangelo Conte, Dec. 13, 2012

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