Pizza Hut robber gets eight yearsPublished 1:05pm Friday, August 17, 2012
CASSOPOLIS — A Dowagiac teenager will spend the next eight years in prison for his role in the armed robbery of a Pizza Hut deliveryman in Dowagiac in April.
Michael Smith, 18, was sentenced to a minimum of eight years in the Michigan Department of Corrections on the charge of felony conspiracy to commit armed robbery by Judge Michael Dodge Friday in Cass County Circuit Court.
The court heard Smith and three others ordered more than $80 worth of pizza on the evening of April 4 to be delivered to an abandoned home on Budlow Street in Dowagiac.
Smith and another person met the deliveryman outside the home and lured him inside with the pretext of securing cash to pay for the pizza. Once inside, Smith held the deliveryman as others robbed him. Another person in the house pointed a pellet gun at the deliveryman and threatened to shoot him. The deliveryman was then forced to lie on the ground.
“That had to be terrifying for the victim,” Dodge said.
Smith and the others then fled the scene in the deliveryman’s car, stealing a laptop computer, cash and other items from inside.
Smith later turned himself in and named the others responsible for the crime.
Prosecutor Victor Fitz told the court Smith’s actions pose a grave threat for the city.
“When these things start happening … it sends a terrible chill throughout the community,” Fitz said. “People are afraid to go out of their houses, and businesses are afraid to go to certain parts of town. It is negative, negative, negative.”
Defense attorney Dale Blunier said Smith is a good football player who, before making one stupid mistake, had the opportunity of playing football in college, possibly on scholarship.
“This is a tragic case,” said Blunier, referring to the victim and his client.
Smith’s prior criminal record was limited to a marijuana possession charge in 2008.
Smith apologized for his actions and said he hopes the victim can one day forgive him. Smith also said it was difficult to plead guilty, but he did so because he wanted to take responsibility for his actions.
Dodge calculated sentence guidelines for the conspiracy to commit armed robbery charge at 81 to 135 months in prison.
Smith was also charged with unlawful imprisonment, larceny from a motor vehicle and unlawful driving away of a motor vehicle.
He gets credit for 129 days served.