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updated: 12/5/2013 2:13 PM

DuPage County judge sentences would-be jewelry thief to 8 years

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  • Levert Jones

      Levert Jones

 
 

A Detroit man who was shot in the Oakbrook Center mall while trying to rob a jewelry store with a sledgehammer was sentenced Thursday to eight years in prison.

Prosecutors had sought the maximum sentence of 15 years.

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Levert Jones, 25, was shot by a security guard in June after using a 4-pound sledgehammer to smash a glass display case at the mall's C.D. Peacock store. Assistant State's Attorney Jim Scaliatine said authorities continue to search for two accomplices who fled.

Six employees and 10 customers were inside the store when the men entered about 3:40 p.m. Jones pulled the sledgehammer from his waistband and broke the display case. The security guard ordered Jones to lie on the floor but Jones resisted and was shot in the rear abdomen during a struggle, prosecutors said.

The other suspects fled without taking anything.

"I didn't mean to try to rob nobody. I didn't know it was robbery. I thought I was just going to take it," Jones told DuPage County Judge Blanche Hill Fawell, while asking for leniency in his sentence. "I can't feel my groin or my rear end because a man shot me for no reason. But I apologize if I messed other people's lives up."

Mary Hager, vice president of human relations for the jewelry store chain, testified Thursday that one of the five employees in the store that day has been treated for post-traumatic stress disorder and no longer works for the company.

She said several others, even those working in the chain's three other locations, remain fearful every time a suspicious person enters the store. Hager, herself, has since tendered her resignation as a result of the robbery.

"You don't expect to come to an office and deal with something like this," she said.

Fawell told Jones he missed an opportunity to "undo" some of the damage he caused when he refused to help identify the two other men involved in the robbery.

"You robbed all of those people of their sense of security, including the customers who were just having a day shopping," she said. "And there was clearly a ripple effect to all of the other stores. You did a lot of damage."

A tearful Jones asked Fawell why he "got so many years."

"Because it's what I feel is appropriate," she said.

Jones will receive credit for the 161 days he has served in DuPage County jail since his arrest.

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