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Florida man gets 20 years for stealing $600 worth of cigarettes

Robert Spellman, who was before the crime was sentenced, was Friday sentenced to 20 years in state prison for stealing $600 worth of cigarettes from a supermarket.

(Escambia County Jail)

A Florida man who stole $600 worth of cigarettes from a grocery store was Friday sentenced to 20 years in state prison, The Pensacola News Journal.

An Escambia County jury convicted Robert Spellman, 48, burglary and grand theft in August. Spellman went into a Circle K in December, and stole 10 cartons of cigarettes from a stock room in the store manager, authorities said.

The State Attorney’s Office said authorities found Spellman in the local area, that match a description of the suspect, and had the cigarettes, The News Journal reported.

Spellman had 14 felony and 31 misdemeanor convictions prior to the cigarette theft, which qualified him as a habitual felony offender, The News Journal reported. That led to the long-term 20-year jail term imposed Friday by an Escambia County judge.

The long jail sentence prompted outrage on social media, with some people accusing the public prosecutor of the imposition of a heavy punishment for a seemingly minor crime.

this is just insane!!! Just as a disproportionate sentence, that this cruel judges?!?

— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) September 23, 2018

“Just as a disproportionate sentence,” wrote a Twitter user. “[W]ho are these cruel judges?!?”

@myescambia @AGPamBondi @1stCircuitFL
Is 20 years in prison the best option? What about house arrest with an ankle bracelet? Mandatory community service? The work on the Circle K unpaid up to $600 is refunded? All of the above. He should be punished, but many more creative possibilities for this violation…

— Orlando B (@alste64) September 23, 2018

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Recidivism risk is taken into account all legal process.. his rate is very high, the price he pays for this said crime is outrageous, but in the past/prior violations can be viewed to the potential of reoffending.

— Just that girl (@KymJNeenan) September 23, 2018

Bradford Betz is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bradford_betz.

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