A 30-year-old Topeka man has been sentenced to nearly five years in prison for a pair of July robberies in which he used a crowbar to threaten employees at a pharmacy and pizza restaurant in Lawrence.
Matthew Glen Allender was sentenced in Douglas County District Court on Friday after pleading no contest to felony robbery in August.
Allender, who briefly escaped from the Lansing Correctional Facility in 2011, is listed as a parole absconder by the Department of Corrections after being paroled to Shawnee County in May. He was arrested on July 21 following the robberies of CVS Pharmacy, 4841 Bauer Farm Drive, and Domino’s Pizza, 832 Iowa St.
CVS store employees told police that a man entered the store that morning carrying a crowbar, threatened employees with it and fled after grabbing money from a register opened by a store clerk, Trent McKinley, a Lawrence Police Department spokesman, told the Journal-World in July. At Friday’s sentencing, Allender was ordered to pay $135.91 in restitution to CVS.
Also on July 21, Domino’s Pizza employees told police that a man threatened employees with a crowbar and demanded money. The man struck, but did not injure, an employee with the crowbar and fled when his demands were not immediately met. Police were led to believe that the same suspect committed both robberies based on descriptions given by employees at both stores and video from security cameras at the CVS. Allender was located in a wooded area.
On Friday, Allender told Judge Michael Malone that he had fallen back into financial and drug problems in the two months since he was released from prison.
“There’s no excuse for me choosing to do drugs again,” Allender said. “Once I did that, things went downhill fast.”