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Rob Store, Go To Prison, Serve Time, Repeat?

A man who spent more than 13 years in jail for robbing a New Jersey shoe store returned to the scene of the crime one day after his release from prison and robbed the business again, police say.

Christopher Miller, 40, was released from South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton, N.J., on Friday.

On Saturday, as NJ.com writes, he allegedly showed up at a Stride Rite store in Toms River, N.J. — the one he robbed back in November 1999 — "and demanded cash from the store's two employees." The news site adds that:

"Miller took the cash register containing $389 but the workers refused his demand to turn over their car keys, authorities said. ... 'He was not armed but just made a verbal threat,' police spokesman Ralph Stocco said. ... The employees quickly notified police, who enlisted the help of a K-9 named Cyrus and tracked down Miller on nearby Feathertree Drive. Police found the employees' phones in a garbage can in the shopping center and the money in a gutter downspout in the back of the building, police said."

NBC New York reports that "Toms River Police Chief Mitchell Little says he has to wonder whether Miller considers prison life home. 'Maybe that's the only life he knows, and the only thing he could think of was going back to the same store and doing the same crime again — getting caught and going back where he was taken care of and told what to do and getting meals and shelter and everything else,' [the chief] said."

State records show that Miller was sentenced to prison on Dec. 1, 2000 — to a "mandatory minimum term" of 12 years, 9 months and 3 days.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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