Man Arrested 45 Times Sentenced to Prison
A Philadelphia man who had avoided conviction after 44 arrests was sentenced Thursday to 37 years in prison and ordered to pay nearly $7,200 in restitution in connection with a pair of armed robberies.
John Gassew, 25, was convicted in February on two counts each of robbery and possession of a firearm in connection with robberies in 2007 and 2009. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Anita Brody sentenced him to 37 years, followed by five years of supervised release, and ordered him to pay $7,194 in restitution.
Gassew robbed a bar in northeast Philadelphia on Dec. 9, 2007, threatening employees and patrons with a gun, according to prosecutors. He also robbed a convenience store of cash and cigarettes on Oct. 28, 2009.
Gassew had been profiled by The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2010 after he was arrested 44 times without a conviction in the city court system. About 20 of those cases collapsed after witnesses failed to appear for court. Federal prosecutors then picked up the case in 2010.