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Ranson man gets 10 years in robbery attempt

September 24, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A 35-year-old man who covered his face with a pair of blue women's underwear and used a small pistol-shaped cigarette lighter in an attempt to rob an Inwood, W.Va., convenience store was sentenced this week to serve 10 years in prison.

Steven Clay Stephenson of Ranson, W.Va., entered no contest pleas Monday to driving under the influence and first-degree attempted robbery as part of an plea agreement that was accepted by 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Gray Silver III.

Silver accepted the terms of a deal that allows Stephenson to serve a 10-year sentence for the attempted robbery and a 6-month jail term for the DUI concurrently.

Counts of petit larceny, improper vehicle registration and conspiracy were dismissed.

In May 2007, a cashier at ROCS convenience store told police that a man wearing a black shirt and blue jeans with his face concealed with underwear entered the business and demanded money, according to court records.

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The cashier refused, unsure if the gun was real or a cigarette lighter that was sold at the store at one time, police have said.

Police later found a cigarette lighter designed to look like a pistol in Stephenson's pants pocket.

The underwear was found between a Sheetz convenience store and a car lot by a Berkeley County Sheriff's Department deputy, according to court records.

Silver said Monday that ROCS convenience store owner Roach Oil Co. (R.M. Roach & Sons Inc.) did not seek restitution and the investigating police officer, West Virginia State Police Trooper J.D. Scheussler, agreed with the plea deal.

When asked if he wished to make a statement regarding the case, Stephenson apologized "for what has happened" and apologized for using the court's time and to the victims.

The attempted robbery was recorded by video equipment at the store just before 4 a.m.

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