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Claremont Man Draws Prison For Convenience Store Robbery

  • James Perry during his plea and sentencing hearing in Sullivan County Superior Court in Newport, N.H., on July 18, 2014. His mother is behind him. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    James Perry during his plea and sentencing hearing in Sullivan County Superior Court in Newport, N.H., on July 18, 2014. His mother is behind him.
    Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • James Perry during his plea and sentencing hearing in Sullivan County Superior Court in Newport, N.H., on July 18, 2014.<br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    James Perry during his plea and sentencing hearing in Sullivan County Superior Court in Newport, N.H., on July 18, 2014.
    Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • James Perry during his plea and sentencing hearing in Sullivan County Superior Court in Newport, N.H., on July 18, 2014. His mother is behind him. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck
  • James Perry during his plea and sentencing hearing in Sullivan County Superior Court in Newport, N.H., on July 18, 2014.<br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

Newport — A Claremont man with a lengthy criminal record was sentenced to two to five years in New Hampshire State Prison after pleading guilty in Sullivan County Superior Court Friday to robbing a convenience store in Claremont on New Year’s Eve.

James Perry, 25, will also have to pay $280 in restitution and must undergo counseling and other treatment programs as recommended by the department of corrections.

Perry, standing next to his attorney Joseph Frankel, from the public defender’s office in Keene, N.H., apologized for his crime after being sentenced by Judge Brian Tucker.

“I am sorry to the community for my actions,” Perry said.

Sullivan County Attorney Marc Hathaway said Perry’s past record of numerous misdemeanor charges in both Vermont and New Hampshire factored into his recommendation for a state prison sentence.

“The sheer volume of offenses and the nature of this offense, make state prison appropriate,” Hathaway said.

Perry’s record dates to 2005 when he was convicted of burglary in Vermont. He also was convicted of unlawful mischief and simple assault in Vermont and multiple charges in New Hampshire including possession of marijuana, resisting arrest, sexual assault, simple assault and writing bad checks. In his sentencing, Judge Tucker took a year off the maximum recommended by Hathaway because Perry has spent less than a year in jail from all his convictions.

Thursday’s sentence was the result of a robbery at the Jiffy Mart on North Street in Claremont. According to court documents, Perry entered the store around 8:30 in the morning last Dec. 31 and asked for cigarettes. When the clerk handed them to him, Perry passed her a note that read: “This is a hold up, give me all the cash. I have a gun. Stay calm and you won’t get hurt.”

Perry was given about $270 from the register and left the store, heading toward nearby Belding Street on the other side of Barnes Park at the corner of North and Elm streets. After viewing the store video, Claremont police were able to identify Perry and store personnel also confirmed it was Perry. He was arrested at a Belding Street apartment, where he was staying with a friend, that afternoon. It was later determined Perry never had a gun and the initial charge of armed robbery was reduced to robbery. Police confiscated from the apartment several pieces of clothing Perry was seen wearing in the store video. A large tattoo on his right hand and several cuts on his left hand were also seen in the robbery footage that helped identify him. According to the police affidavit, Perry used money he obtained in the robbery to buy drugs.

In court Friday, Perry told Judge Tucker that he had substance abuse problems and had been addicted to heroin and cocaine but had been clean for seven months.

Perry’s attorney, Frankel, said it is the right sentence and that his client “feels bad” about what happened.

Perry’s mother sat behind her son but did not speak and declined to comment outside the courtroom.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at pogclmt@gmail.com.