Probation for attempted Chinese restaurant robber

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BENNINGTON — A local man who tried to rob a Chinese restaurant last summer has been given a suspended sentence and placed on probation.

Isaiah M. Meyer was charged after police said he tried to rob the Lucky Dragon Chinese Restaurant the night of July 4.

Meyer, 22, pleaded guilty in Bennington criminal court on Wednesday to felony attempted assault and robbery.

Judge David A. Howard imposed a five-to-six year suspended sentence. It was split with six months to serve in prison, but the sentence includes credit for the six months he's been detained since his July 25 arrest.

At about 9:10 p.m. on July 4, Meyer entered the restaurant wearing all dark clothing and cloth covering his face, approached and reached over the front counter while an owner was counting money, and tried to grab the cash, according to a police affidavit. Security video footage from a camera mounted above the counter showed him struggle with two owners before he fled without any money. No one was injured in the incident.

Two sources told police that Meyer had sent instant messages, saying "The Lucky Dragon has only one camera" and "I got jumped." A third source claimed Meyer said he robbed the restaurant because he was "dope sick and had no other choice."

Meyer initially told police he was at the Fourth of July celebration at Willow Park, an alibi backed up by his mother and her wife. But investigators spoke with a source who told police Meyer was not at the park.

Both women were taken into custody and eventually told police they had seen security footage air on TV news and knew Meyer was the suspect.

The act was "a desperate, drug-fueled, very poor decision," said Robert Plunkett, deputy state's attorney. That, and Meyer's lack of a criminal history, was in part why a longer prison sentence wasn't imposed, he said.

"He was known by police, but had not been violent," Plunkett said. "He had been respectful. It was a surprise to some that he would do this."

Meyer "has a strong family support system," Plunkett said. Meyer will transfer his probation to New York, where he will live with a relative and be employed, he said.

Meyer has been "has been polite and respectful," said his defense attorney, Mark Furlan.

"It's up to you to deal with your addiction issues or appear back in court," Howard told Meyer. "You need to make a decision about where you want to be in 10 years."

Under a plea agreement, the state dismissed single felony counts of burglary and obstructing justice. In a separate case, the state dismissed a count of heroin sale.

Ed Damon can be reached at edamon@benningtonbanner.com, at @edamon_banner on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 111.


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