ITHACA, N.Y. – A man accused of robbing an elderly lady at a smoke shop in Ithaca had just been released on probation for a robbery at the Commons Market in December.

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Will Howell Jr., 32, was given one week to consider a plea deal offered by a prosecutor that would require him to plea guilty to third degree-robbery.

Howell was sentenced to 5 years of probation and jail time on March 26 after he stole a wallet in the Ithaca Commons Market at 122 N. Aurora St. He also tried to take money from the register.

On May 2, Howell allegedly stole money from a smoke shop at 124 W. State St., which was staffed by an elderly woman at the time. Bystanders helped direct police to the man, who fled from them through several backyards, police said.

Howell appeared at the Tompkins County Court Friday afternoon for violating his probation.

He was offered a plea deal if he admits to violating his probation and pleads guilty to robbing the smoke shop. If he does, he will face a maximum of three to six years in jail, prosecutor Gary Surdell said.

If Howell rejects the offer, he is facing the maximum sentence of seven years for the robbery charge, which could potentially not be served concurrently with his other charges, Surdell said.

Howell has until Friday to decide whether he will accept the plea deal.

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.