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Robber armed with pellet gun will do four years in prison

BY KEITH LACEY klacey@northernlife.
BY KEITH LACEY

While his mother wept inconsolably, a young man with a horrific criminal record was sentenced to four years in a penitentiary Wednesday for his part in an armed robbery which netted him only a few dollars two weeks ago.

Richard Petroff, 20, also known as Richard Brenneman, pleaded guilty to armed robbery and wearing a disguise in the commission of an offence.

Petroff was one of five people charged in relation to the armed robbery of a Howey Drive convenience store Sept. 8.

Despite his young age, Petroff has accumulated more than two dozen criminal convictions.

Court heard Petroff and another man disguised themselves and entered the convenience store just before 10 pm.

Assistant Crown attorney Susan Stothart told the court the man with Petroff pulled out what appeared to be a handgun and ordered the storeÂ?s clerk to open the register.

The man took between $60 and $80 and handed it over to Petroff, who placed the money in a bag he had brought with him into the store.

The storeÂ?s owner saw the robbery going on through a videotape monitor and entered the store from a separate entrance.

The man holding the gun, which defence counsel Craig Fleming said was a pellet gun made to look like a handgun, pointed the weapon directly at the ownerÂ?s head and uttered profanities, before he and Petroff prepared to leave the scene, said Stothart.

On the way out of the store, Petroff grabbed a container holding a large amount of candy, she said.

A third male was near the entrance to the store and all three men took off on foot, where another male was waiting in a vehicle, said Stothart.

A witness gave Greater Sudbury Police officers a partial licence plate number and officers eventually identified Petroff as being involved in the armed robbery. Police arrested him when Petroff went to a gas bar.

The minimum jail sentence for anyone involved in a crime where a handgun, real or fake, is used is four years in a federal penitentiary, said Stothart.

The Crown sought a five-year penitentiary term. Both the storeÂ?s owner and clerk were traumatized and in fear for their life. The courts must send a strong message that thereÂ?s a serious price to pay if you use a handgun in...an armed robbery, she said.

Justice Laurence Collins agreed to a four-year sentence, pointing out Petroff never held the weapon or threatened any violence during the robbery.

Carl Casseus, PetroffÂ?s co-accused, faces charges of armed robbery and using a disguise in the commission of a
crime and uttering threats.