FRONT ROYAL – A Georgia man must serve prison time for robbing a cash-advance business in town in August.

Jhon Jairo Lopez pleaded guilty in Warren County Circuit Court on Friday to committing one count of robbery that occurred Aug. 2. Lopez spoke through a Spanish language interpreter.

Lopez, 23, also known as Jhon Jairo Lopez-Freyde, of Norcross, Georgia, entered the plea as part of an agreement reached between Commonwealth’s Attorney Brian Madden and the defendant’s lawyer Eric Wiseley.

Retired Judge Lon E. Farris accepted the agreement and Lopez’ guilty plea. Farris sentenced Lopez to 15 years in a state penitentiary with 10 years suspended, leaving the defendant with five years to serve. Farris ordered Lopez to complete three years of supervised probation and pay $1,547 in restitution to the victim.

The conviction could affect Lopez’ immigration status, the judge explained. However, neither Madden nor Wiseley said if the conviction would result in Lopez’ deportation. An official at Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail said by email that Immigration and Customs Enforcement has a detainer for Lopez. The federal agency uses detainers to hold undocumented immigrants charged locally before they enter the federal deportation system.

Madden provided a summary of the evidence the prosecutor intended to present had the case gone to trial. Lopez walked into the Advance America Cash Advance in Gateway Plaza on Remount Road in Front Royal at approximately 1 p.m. Aug. 2, Madden said.

“He approached her and she saw what appeared to be a handgun in his waist,” Madden said.

Authorities did not charge Lopez with a related weapons offense in the case, court records show.

Lopez asked a clerk about obtaining a money gram, and then walked around the counter and demanded the clerk give him money. A criminal complaint filed in the case states Lopez ordered the clerk to open the cash drawers and remove money from two of the four drawers.

Madden went on to say that Lopez demanded that the clerk show him the safe. Lopez took a money bag containing cash from the safe and then he left the store, Madden said.

Authorities received a description of the suspect, then found and apprehended Lopez outside an Advance America Cash Advance store in Warrenton in Fauquier County. Lopez appeared to be wearing the same clothes as he was seen wearing at the Front Royal location, according to the criminal complaint. Warrenton police received a photo from video surveillance footage taken at the Front Royal location and positively identified Lopez as the same person apprehended in Fauquier County.

Court records show Lopez was not charged with any offense in Fauquier County.

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