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Manchester man apologizes for Hampstead store robbery

Union Leader Correspondent

March 02. 2012 11:42PM

BRENTWOOD - A Manchester man who robbed a Hampstead convenience store and nearly made off $120 before scuffling with the store owner apologized for his actions before being sentenced to state prison, prosecutors said.

Ronald Mason, 41, was sentenced to 1 to 4 years in state prison after pleading guilty on Thursday to charges that he robbed the Hampstead Variety Store last May 25.

During the robbery, Mason struck the store owner in head and spit on him before fleeing, according to prosecutors.

As part of the negotiated plea agreement, Mason will have to undergo drug and alcohol counseling, anger management and make restitution to the victim. Mason will also have to do 50 hours of community service once he is released.

He pleaded guilty to felony robbery and misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and simple assault, said Assistant County Attorney Benjamin LeDuc.

On the misdemeanor charges, he was given a suspended 12-month jail sentence, which prosecutors can bring forward within the next two years. Prosecutors dropped three other misdemeanor counts of simple assault as part of the plea deal.

After pleading guilty, Mason apologized for his actions and to the store owner, Jignesh Patel.

Patel did not attend the hearing, prosecutors said.

Judge N. William Delker said it wasn't often that he heard a meaningful apology from a defendant.

Hampstead police tracked down Mason after getting a description of his vehicle and a partial license plate number from witnesses at the scene.

An anonymous tipster later came forward and identified Mason as the robber and said his girlfriend once worked at the store, according to a police affidavit.

Had Mason been convicted at trial, he could have faced up to 3 to 7 years in state prison and a $4,000 fine.

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