A local man was sentenced in the United States District Court of Vermont on Tuesday to almost four and a half years in prison for the armed robbery of the Maplewood convenience store on March 7.
Todd E. Bussino Jr., 38, of Rutland, was arraigned in federal court April 21 on charges he obstructed commerce by robbing Mac’s Market in Rutland on Nov. 30, 2020, the Circle K Convenience store in Rutland on Feb. 12 and Mac’s again on March 6 as well as the Maplewood store.
On Sept. 24, he pleaded guilty to the Maplewood robbery under a plea agreement that would see the other three charges dismissed.
The sentencing also calls for Bussino to pay almost $1,400 in restitution and spend three years on supervision after his release from prison.
A news release from the office of the U.S. attorney for Vermont said there had been an investigation by federal, state and local law-enforcement agencies of a series of robberies first reported in November 2020.
In each of the robberies, one man entered a store, waited until other customers had left and then demanded money from the clerk. In almost all the robberies, the man brandished a knife.
Bussino was arrested after a ninth robbery in March but released on bail. He was arrested again after a 10th, attempted robbery on April 13.
On April 21, a federal grand jury in Rutland charged Bussino with four of those robberies.
In a statement, United States Attorney Nikolas Kerest commended the efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Rutland City Police Department, the Vermont State Police and the Rutland County Sheriff’s Department.
“All Vermonters should be able to feel safe visiting and working in commercial establishments such as convenience stores,” Kerest said.
Bussino was charged in Rutland County criminal court in March with a felony count of assault and robbery with a weapon. If convicted, he would have faced a mandatory minimum of one year in jail.
In September, however, Rutland County State’s Attorney Rose Kennedy dismissed the charge after Bussino pleaded guilty in federal court. Kennedy’s motion noted that Bussino’s guilty plea “covers the alleged criminal behavior” from the Rutland County charges.
A memorandum submitted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Waples about Bussino noted that while Bussino had pleaded guilty to one charge, there was no sentencing agreement in place.
The sentencing guidelines for Bussino suggested a range of more than five years in jail to more than seven years in jail. Waples’ memo asked the court to consider a sentence that was “near or at the top” of the range.
According to the Vermont Department of Corrections online offender locator, Bussino was being held in prison on local charges for three counts of larceny from a person and two counts of burglary.
Waples noted that history in his memo.
“Given this history, the court has every reason to fear that whenever he is released from custody on this case, Bussino will be at grave danger of reoffending. A significant period of incapacitation is warranted to protect the public from potential violence,” he wrote.
In his own sentencing memorandum, attorney Steven Barth, who represents Bussino, said his client was “born into a family plagued by domestic violence.” He said Bussino “struggles with learning disabilities, mental illness and addiction.”
The memo said Bussino had tried to overcome addictions, primarily to opiates and cocaine, but relapsed in the months before he was arrested last year.
Barth asked for a four-year sentence for Bussino to be served at the same time, or concurrently, as his local sentence. While Bussino’s sentence was 53 months instead of 48 months, the sentence will be served concurrent with his local sentence.