A Carbon County man was sentenced to a long state prison term on Friday on robbery charges of which he previously pleaded guilty.
Timothy Eugene Keiper, 20, of Lehighton, was sentenced by Judge Joseph J. Matika to serve a total of 72 to 144 months in a state correctional facility. The sentence was for two counts of robbery and one each of theft and receiving stolen property.
Keiper was charged with entering the Friendly Food Mart, Patterson St., Lansford, on April 28 and confronting store clerk Edward Rehatcheck Jr. with a weapon. Police said Keiper used a BB gun, but was the type that resembled a real handgun.
He also was charged with entering the Square One Market along Interchange Road in Franklin Township on May 7, and confronting employee Michael Fox with the same BB gun.
The theft and receiving charges stemmed from a May 12 incident when he took cash and jewelry from the home of Maggie Appleby of Summit Hill. Appleby was identified as the mother of Keiper's girlfriend.
Defense Attorney Joseph Perilli told Matika that Keiper's actions were to get money to feed a drug addiction problem.
Keiper told the court he started smoking marijuana when he was 10 and graduated to other drugs, including cocaine and then heroin.
Matika noted in the presentence investigation, report prepared by the adult probation office, that it was reported Keiper had problems dealing with the untimely death of his father.
Perilli asked the court to consider the defendant's age in imposing the jail term. Perilli said Keiper knew at the time he pleaded guilty to the charges a state prison term would be imposed. He added that the type of programs Keiper needs for his problems are available in the state system.
Assistant District Attorney Cynthia Dyrda Hatton said she agreed the type of help Keiper needed was in the state system, but reminded the court that since 2008 while Keiper was involved in criminal acts the violence involved in the acts kept escalating.
Matika said Keiper had to pay for what he did but at the same time he was young enough to recover and become a productive citizen.
Matika noted Keiper had three children, one of them being only a few days old and another 16 months old. He told Keiper, "Christmas will be here for your children and you won't be. Their birthdays will come and go and you won't be there."
Matika urged Keiper to take advantage of what the state system offers for his problems and when he gets out he can begin his life with his children.
In addition to the jail term, Matika ordered Keiper to make total restitution of $2,070.44, supply a DNA sample, get both mental health and drug and alcohol evaluations and follow any recommendations for treatment, zero tolerance of D&A use, do not enter the businesses and home of his victims, and have no contact with any of his victims. He must also pay court costs that average about $1,000.
He was given credit for a total of 177 days spent in jail on the charges.