By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
An Atmore man was sentenced July 8 by Escambia County (Fla.) Circuit Judge W. Joel Boles to serve at least 10 years in prison for twice stealing money — once at gunpoint — from a grocery store for which he once worked.
According to a Pensacola News Journal report, Maurice Montraye Ervin, 27, was sentenced to a minimum of 10 years in prison, followed by three years of probation. Ervin will reportedly have to serve each day of the 10-year period, with no chance of parole.
The Atmore man had previously entered a guilty plea to charges of armed robbery with a firearm, aggravated assault and grand theft.
Ervin worked at the Piggly Wiggly store just over the state line on Fla. 97 until he was fired in 2019 after surveillance cameras recorded his theft of more than $900 from the store’s business office.
On December 4, 2019, Ervin — wearing a mask and carrying a handgun —returned to the same Piggly Wiggly. He reportedly pointed a gun at a clerk and then robbed the safe of more than $6,700. Although Ervin’s face was concealed under the mask, the clerk at whom he pointed the gun told lawmen she recognized his voice.
According to court documents, Ervin did not have any criminal history prior to the theft and robbery. After serving the prison sentence, he will be required to pay Piggly Wiggly restitution of about $7,600 as a condition of his probation.
Ervin’s accused accomplice, 46-year-old Johnny Cecil Patterson, also of Atmore, is awaiting trial on charges of first-degree accessory after the fact, robbery with a firearm and grand theft.
Patterson allegedly drove Ervin to the Piggly Wiggly and served as his getaway driver.