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Luzerne man gets state prison time for robbery

Published November 14. 2009 09:00AM

A Luzerne County man was sentenced to a state prison term Thursday on charges of robbery and aggravated assault.

Eleazar Yisrael, 24, of Hazleton, was sentenced by Judge David A. Addy to serve two to four years in a state prison on a charge of aggravated assault and the same term for robbery, both running concurrently.

Yisrael, of 3 W. 10th St., was charged with entering Justin's Mini Mart at 701 E. Catawissa St., Nesquehoning, on Nov. 2 and pointing a handgun at the clerk, Lori Melicharek. He demanded money and then fled. Police said he placed the gun in Melicharek's back. After he fled Milicharek called 9-1-1 and gave a description of Yisrael, who was wearing a bandana over his face, and the truck he was driving.

The truck was spotted along SR93 in the area of J.C. Small Engine Repair business by Weatherly police, who had set up a roadblock. Yisrael attempted to drive around the roadblock and almost ran over Weatherly Office Michael Bogart, who had to jump out of the way to prevent getting injured.

Yisrael then fled back towards Nesquehoning and was captured after he crashed his truck at the runoff on SR93.

Defense Atty. Joseph D. Perilli told Addy that despite the circumstances of the incident he found Yisrael to be a "quality person". He added, "Sometimes good people make mistakes. He's a good man, comes from a good family and has good ideas."

Several family members, including his mother, sister, brother and employer, spoke on his behalf. Addy also noted receiving numerous letters from fellow employees and friends in support of the defendant.

Perilli said Yisrael was "worthy of some consideration here."

Addy said he was truly impresssed by the letters he received. "If I could, I would do a little more, but I'm a believer in stipulations."

The stipulation called for the two to four year term with a recommendation by the court to let Yisrael apply for entry in the state's boot camp program. The program is run like a military training camp and has very strict rules. If a person completes it they are eligible for early release from prison. However, one violation and they are revoked from the program and returned to their original sentence. Addy noted he could only recommend the defendant for the program, it was up the state prison authorities if he gets in it.

Addy gave Yisrael credit for 286 days spent in jail to date on the charges and ordered he supply a DNA sample and pay the $250 fee.

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