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Robber declared long-term offender

BY KEITH LACEY klacey@northernlife.
BY KEITH LACEY

A serial armed robber has been declared a long-term offender, meaning police will have the powers to watch him virtually around the clock for seven years, once he completes the six-and-a-half year sentence he received Thursday.

Carl Casseus, 35, pleaded guilty in April to wearing a mask and brandishing an imitation handgun while robbing a Minnow Lake convenience store last Sept. 8.

Casseus also pleaded guilty Thursday to robbing a fast-food restaurant in Montreal Jan. 19, 2003.

Justice Guy Mahaffy agreed to a joint submission. Casseus, who has more than a dozen previous convictions for armed robbery, received a six-year sentence for the Sudbury robbery.

Mahaffy also agreed Casseus should serve an extra six months for the Montreal robbery, which netted Casseus only $42.

During the incident in Sudbury, Casseus and two accomplices burst into the convenience store, wearing masks over their faces.

Court heard Casseus met up with his two co-accused in Memorial Park last Sept. 8. All three men agreed ?to do a job? to try to get some money.

The three men went to an apartment where witnesses saw Casseus performing alterations to the pellet gun to make it look like a handgun. The men left in a car and were seen by witnesses near Lonsdale Avenue, across the street from the convenience store.

The owner of the store has his residence located in the back of the building and he had access to a monitor from a video surveillance system.

The female clerk?s sister had just left the store and used her cell phone to inform her about three men acting suspiciously outside, he said.

A short time later, Casseus entered the store and grabbed two chocolate bars. The store?s owner thought his behaviour was suspicious and ran from his residence to the store.

Casseus was wearing a disguise when he waved the gun and pointed it at the female clerk and demanded money. The store owner arrived and told the men to ?get out of here.?

Casseus responded by pointing the gun at his head and ordering him to put his hands up.

The cash register was opened and $60 to $80 was removed. A large amount of candy was also taken.

One of the co-accused, Richard Petkoff, recently received a four-year penitentiary term for his role in the incident.

Casseus recently completed a 60-day assessment as the Crown got permission from the province?s Attorney General to pursue a long-term offender designation Casseus.

Defence counsel Alex Toffoli conceded Casseus? long record of armed robberies and the seriousness of this offence cry out for a long penitentiary term.

He was in no position to oppose the long-term offender designation because his client?s record is long and involves repeating the same serious offence over and over again, said Toffoli.

After serving his sentence, police now have the authority to maintain regular surveillance and keep a close eye on Casseus for seven years.

Mahaffy also imposed a lifetime weapons ban against Casseus and ordered him to provide a DNA sample for a national crime data bank.

After imposing sentence and agreeing to the long-term offender designation, Mahaffy noted Casseus was co-operative with authorities, admitted to his past transgressions, and showed a willingness to try and turn his troubled life around.

There?s still a chance this accused could lead a productive life outside of jail, said Mahaffy.