A masked robber who wielded a fake gun in a raid on a North Side grocery store has been jailed for four years.
Courtney Bryan, 20, was one of four men who stole cash, cigarettes and jewelry in the robbery at Chisholm’s supermarket in September.
He admitted pointing the imitation firearm directly at the female cashier before ripping a necklace from her neck.
The four-man gang were tracked by police helicopter and pursued by patrol cars from the scene after quick-thinking staff noted down the license plate number of their vehicle and called 911.
They were observed throwing some of the stolen items from the car as police chased them across Grand Cayman eventually catching up with them at Riverside Plaza in the East End.
Bryan initially claimed he was asleep during the chase and only woke up when the vehicle was stopped by police.
The court heard that two of the gang had entered the grocery store on Sept. 23 and bought a patty, apparently to “case the joint.”
Around 15 minutes later, Bryan and another man burst into the store wearing ski masks. His accomplice shouted “give me the money,” while Bryan took a wrist watch and necklace from the cashier before forcing her to open the cash drawer.
In all, they took $300 cash, 11 packs of Benson and Hedges cigarettes, a 14 carat gold chain, a silver watch and a Nokia mobile phone – valued at a total of $1,495.
As they left the store, one of the defendants shouted, “Next time make sure you have more.”
Passing sentence on Wednesday, Justice Charles Quin said there had been an element of pre-planning involved in the robbery and that Bryan, though not necessarily the “mastermind,” had played a major role.
He said the robbery had been a terrifying experience for the store’s 83-year-old owner and her granddaughter.
But he praised them for their courage and quick action in accurately recording the license plate number.
“It is only this kind of stand against antisocial and criminal behavior by members of the public that will assist the police in putting a stop to the activities of the criminal elements in our society,” he said.
A statement from the store owner, Rhoda Ebanks, was supplied to the court. She said: “I am 83 years of age and I still work for a living. These idiots come and take your few dollars instead of trying to work. I get up from 6 a.m. to get to work for 7 a.m. I am there till 7 p.m. and they are idling their time away.”
The court heard that Bryan was a regular cocaine user and also smoked 10-15 ganja joints a day. He claimed to owe a total of $2,600 for drugs at the time of the offense.
Justice Quin imposed a four-year jail sentence for the robbery. Bryan was also sentenced to three years for possession of the imitation firearm, with the sentences to run concurrently – meaning he will serve a total of four years in jail.