Pittsfield man sentenced to probation for armed robbery with BB gun

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PITTSFIELD — A city man who used a BB pistol to rob a man making a night deposit has been sentenced to three years' probation.

Benjamin C. Robertson, 22, pleaded guilty in Berkshire Superior Court on Tuesday to a charge of armed and masked robbery in the 2017 incident.

He could have faced five or more years in prison on that charge, but Assistand District Attorney Jedd L. Hall said his lack of criminal record, his performance during pretrial probation, and the counseling and therapy he's already undertaken were factors in recommending probation over incarceration.

Robertson was wearing electrical tape on his face on 12:30 a.m. May 8, 2017, when he approached an employee of Domino's Pizza as he was making a deposit at a Citizen's Bank branch on Merrill Road.

Wielding a realistic-looking BB handgun, Robertson told the man to "drop it," and fled on foot with the cash bag containing about $700.

The victim gave police a description of a white male wearing khaki pants and a brown hooded sweatshirt, with tape on his face like an athlete's eye-black strips.

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Police brought in a search dog and Robertson was found hiding under a truck behind a nearby building.

Robertson had neither the bag nor the weapon when he was found, but he told police the general area where he had disposed of them. He told police the weapon was a toy gun; it was found under a metal barrel. The deposit bag also was found nearby.

He was detained and a witness told police they recognized him as the man who demanded the cash. A second witness said he didn't see the suspect's face, but said Robertson's clothes matched those the suspect was wearing.

Hall said the sentencing recommendation was the result of an agreement with Robertson's attorney, Jill Sheldon, and approved by Judge John A. Agostini.

Sheldon said since Robertson's arrest, he has graduated from a sober living program and remains in counseling.

While on probation, he must refrain from alcohol and illegal drugs, and be subjected to random screens. He must also continue with counseling and abide by whatever recommendations the Probation Department may make.

Bob Dunn can be reached at bdunn@berkshireeagle.com, at @BobDunn413 on Twitter and 413-496-6249.


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