A Churchville man described as an accomplice in a convenience store robbery in March 2016 has been sentenced to serve time in federal jail.
Aaron Eildert Rice, 21, was sentenced to two years plus a day Thursday in Pictou provincial after entering guilty pleas to robbery from the incident on March 10, 2016, in New Glasgow and a second charge of failing to attend court on Sept. 6, 2017.
Rice was being held in custody until sentencing during which time he told the court he is remorseful for his actions and will focus on his young son when his sentence is finished.
Crown attorney Patrick Young told the court that two men entered the Needs convenience store around 1:44 a.m. on March 10, 2016, both with hoods from either a sweatshirt or jacket over their heads.
The cashier working that morning told police that he buzzed the men into the store, not thinking there was anything suspicious about their hoods being up because it was raining outside.
He said one of the men asked about purchasing cigarettes and then jumped over the counter and grabbed the cashier. Police say the other man, later identified as Rice, stayed on the opposite side of the counter and started taking chocolate bars from the shelves.
- man behind the counter grabbed both money from the register and cigarettes from a shelf before jumping back over the counter again and leaving the store with Rice.
Young said a third man was waiting outside the entire time and didn’t enter the store.
Police said there were no reports of weapons on either man and $125 in cash plus some change was taken from the register as well as 63 packages of cigarettes.
After leaving the store, the men fled on foot to a nearby residence and New Glasgow Regional Police used its canine unit to locate Rice who had separated from the other men. He had injured his leg and was taken to hospital for treatment before being returned to the police station.
One of the co-accused told police it was his idea to rob the store and he brought Rice in on the plan. The third man was described as a drunken, unknowing co-accused.
Rice was found with items from the store on him when he was arrested, including cigarettes and chocolate bars.
Defence lawyer Doug Lloy said his client has a limited education but a solid work history, which speaks well of his character, but he has struggled with alcohol abuse in the past. This, coupled with his choice to “hang out with the wrong people,” got him into this trouble.
The Crown and defence agreed to a joint recommendation of a total of two years plus a day for the two offences which means his sentence will be served in federal prison. He was not given any credit for time already served on remand.
Judge Del Atwood said robbery is a serious offence but the risk was low in this instance with no weapons present.
“Although Mr. Rice played a lesser role, he was party to a serious offence,” he said.
In addition to prison sentence, he must submit a DNA sample that will remain on record, is unable to own a firearm for 10 years and faces a lifetime ban on possessing prohibited weapons.