Defendant James Yates, who was convicted of aggravated robbery in December, was sentenced by Criminal Court Judge Chris Craft. Yates has nine prior felony convictions dating to the early 1980s.
The incident occurred around 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 2, 2018, when a gunman wearing a camouflage ski mask and a beanie entered the store, pointed a gun at a clerk in one of the aisles and ordered her to the counter and to put cash from the register into an empty green potato chip bag he handed to her.
The suspect dressed in dark jeans, a tan jacket and tan books ran out the door and a short time later responding officers saw someone with a similar appearance run into a nearby barbecue restaurant.
Officers found Yates hiding in the restaurant bathroom and found a potato chip bag stuffed with money in the restroom trash can. They also found a black BB-gun pistol that is a replica of a Beretta pistol, and recovered a tan jacket, camouflage ski mask and red beanie from a nearby dumpster.
Although he was wearing a mask, store employees identified Yates by his clothing, build, distinctive eyebrows and tattoos.
The case was handled by Asst. Dist. Atty. Jose Leon of the District Attorney’s Special Prosecution Unit in Criminal Court Division 8 which seeks maximum sentencing for repeat felony offenders.