A man who robbed a city drug store on Oct. 9, 2011, with a handgun under his hooded sweatshirt was sentenced to 9 1/2 to 20 years in state prison in Lycoming County Court Tuesday by Judge Marc F. Lovecchio.
Larry L. Burden Jr., 33, of 424 Rural Ave., was found guilty by a jury March 6 of robbing the Rite Aid at 14 Fifth St. - a crime that netted him just $149.
After police took Burden into custody at gunpoint blocks away from the store, he was found to have a loaded .357 revolver in his waistband, and a wad of cash also fell from his pants during a strip search at police headquarters.
According to police, Burden told the clerk to move fast and give him the money or he would get hurt. The clerk told police he saw the outline of a gun under his hoodie.
Burden maintained his innocence at sentencing, occasionally objecting as Lovecchio read from his prior criminal history. He argued that some of the records from his juvenile past in Philadelphia were inaccurate.
"I've never been known to this community to be a menace," he said. "I hold fast to my statement that I did not commit this crime."
A friend of Burden's - Troy Purnell - asked the judge for leniency and a minimum sentence, calling Burden a good provider for his children and a family man.
He also questioned why surveillance video footage never was used to identify Burden as the robber.
"I'm not convinced because it's not the man I know him to be," Purnell said.
Regardless, Lovecchio said there was "overwhelming evidence as to (his) guilt."
"You were virtually caught red-handed," he said. "These types of offenses are serious offenses. Armed robberies put everybody at jeopardy."
Burden received a deadly weapon enhancement to his sentence because he possessed a gun during the robbery.
His sentence includes convictions on robbery, terroristic threats, theft, receiving stolen property and possession of an instrument of crime.
A convicted felon before the incident, he also was found guilty of additional firearms violations by Lovecchio because he was not to possess a gun. He was convicted of carrying a firearm without a license in 2003.