South Bend man gets prison for attempted armed robbery at Niles Walmart

Published 12:01 pm Monday, January 24, 2022

NILES — A South Bend man is headed to prison after being sentenced on charges related to an incident at a Niles business.

James Ellis, Jr., 58, of South Bend, pleaded guilty to attempted unarmed robbery and was sentenced to one to five years in prison. He has credit for two days served and must pay $1,024.87 in fines, costs and restitution.

Ellis must also register as a sex offender under a new law that requires people with a past criminal sexual conduct-related conviction to register as a sex offender when convicted of a new felony. He was convicted of attempted rape in Illinois in 1985.

The current incident occurred Nov. 4 at the Niles Walmart and involved him trying steal food and punching a person when they attempted to stop him.

He can serve his prison sentence in any penal institution as he also faces charges in Indiana from a separate incident.

Berrien County Trial Judge Sterling Schrock said he did not want to give Ellis a local sentence which would likely end up in him staying in the Berrien County Jail rather than going to Indiana to handle the matters there.

As for the sex offender registry requirement, Judge Schrock said he is required to apply the law as it is written. He did note that it could be an issue that Ellis could raise on appeal.