A Buffalo man who admitted robbing two La Nova Pizzeria employees of more than $5,700 in restaurant proceeds and then firing gunshots as other employees chased and eventually caught him was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison.
But Terrance Price was not ordered to make restitution, despite a request from the attorney for La Nova Pizzeria Inc. in a victim impact statement.
The $5,756 taken in the holdup was never recovered. Before Price was caught, prosecutors said, he threw the bag of money into the bed of a parked pickup truck, which then took off. The investigation into the theft is continuing.
In sentencing Price, State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia noted the request for restitution in the victim impact statement prepared by attorney Frank R. Nicosia.
The judge asked Assistant District Attorney Michael D. Smith if the District Attorney’s Office was asking him to order restitution.
Smith said it was not seeking restitution because such a request was never made to prosecutors and because Price faces a long prison term. “Restitution is not appropriate at this time,” he said.
Price, 21, of Urban Street, had faced a maximum 25 years behind bars. He pleaded guilty in March to first-degree robbery and two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon in the Oct. 24 holdup outside the West Side restaurant at West Ferry and Hampshire streets.
The two employees were robbed of a bag full of cash at about 9:30 a.m. in the restaurant’s parking lot as they headed for the bank to make a deposit, prosecutors said. Price reached into their car, grabbed the bag and fled. When other employees chased him, he started shooting.
Despite the gunfire, the employees continued to pursue him through backyards and over a fence until he fell on 18th Street, where they held him for police, according to employees.
Price was sentenced as a second violent felony offender, because he has a previous conviction for robbery and corrupting a minor in Pennsylvania.
At the time of the La Nova holdup, he was on probation in the Pennsylvania case after having served a year in prison, and he was later accused of violating his probation, prosecutors said.
At Wednesday’s sentencing, Price’s attorney, Scott M. Lupiani, read a letter to the court from the family’s minister, Pastor Robert R. Sharpe, who asked for leniency and offered to counsel Price.
Lupiani asked the judge to impose the minimum 10-year prison sentence.
Price apologized for his actions, admitting he had made some mistakes.
La Nova co-owner Joseph Todaro III was not in the courtroom for the sentencing. He could not be reached to comment following the sentencing.
After the holdup, Todaro, whose grandfather founded the pizzeria, which employs about 100 people, said he was grateful to have so many loyal employees. But the most important thing was that no one was hurt, he said at the time.
In recent years, La Nova, has branched out, selling frozen chicken wings to stores throughout the United States, Europe, the Caribbean islands and as far away as China, according to Todaro.