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Man pleads guilty in Big Dipper robbery

August 17, 2007|By ERIN JULIUS

A Hagerstown man charged in a robbery in May at The Big Dipper ice cream store on Virginia Avenue pleaded guilty Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court to second-degree assault.

Efrem Rahseen Jones, 18, was sentenced to six years in prison, with all but 15 months suspended. Jones will be held at the Washington County Detention Center and be given credit for 86 days he has served while awaiting trial, Washington County Circuit Judge M. Kenneth Long ordered.

Other charges, including robbery, were dropped as part of the plea agreement.

On May 15, Jones went into The Big Dipper and asked an employee if they were hiring. The employee, who didn't know whether the store was hiring more workers, went to another part of the store to ask someone. Jones followed her, covered his face with a bandanna and demanded to know where the money was kept. At one point, he pushed her back against some metal shelves, Assistant State's Attorney Gina Cirincion said Thursday.

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Jones said he had a weapon, The Herald-Mail has reported.

After responding to the scene, Hagerstown police found a white T-shirt near the shop. Written in permanent marker were the words, "Scoops (or Scoop) & Diane 2007 Foreva."

Jones' parents took him to the police station when they found out about the T-shirt, Assistant Public Defender Eric A. Reed said Thursday.

Jones needed money for an apartment that he and his girlfriend wanted to move in to, Reed said Thursday.

The Big Dipper's owner expressed dismay about the plea agreement in court Thursday.

"It's unfortunate that robbery is being thrown out," Selina Grogg said.

The robbery cost much more than the $85 that Jones took because employees are "petrified" and she had to install a surveillance system, Grogg said.

Jones apologized for his actions Thursday before he was sentenced. Long also ordered Jones to pay $85 in restitution to The Big Dipper.

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