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Plainfield man sentenced to 9 years for 2015 McDonald’s robbery

Thomas H. Outland

A Plainfield man who was recently found guilty of robbing a fast food restaurant in Scotch Plains in 2015 has been sentenced to nine years in state prison for the crime, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel announced today.

During a Friday hearing, Union County Superior Court Judge Robert A. Kirsch ruled that 54-year old Thomas H. Outland must serve a minimum of 85% of the sentence before the possibility of parole, under the provisions of New Jersey’s No Early Release Act. This sentence is to run consecutively to the previously imposed sentence of 16-years in an unrelated robbery that took place in April 2014.

At approximately 12:30a.m. on September 4, 2015, Outland and an unidentified co-conspirator, both of whom were wearing masks and brandishing firearms, entered an unlocked door of the McDonald’s on Route 22 in Scotch Plains, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutors Aran McNerney and Marilyn Muller, who prosecuted the case.

The unidentified suspect then began demanding the cell phones of some of the employees who were cleaning the restaurant at the end of their shift while Outland, a former employee of the restaurant, began walking towards the manager’s office, where the safe was located. Outland was intercepted by one of the store employees, who loudly asserted that Outland’s weapon was fake and suggested Outland could get killed.

At that time, Outland removed his mask, lowered his imitation firearm, and announced to the restaurant employees that his actions constituted a practical joke. He and the second suspect, who never removed his mask, then returned the employees’ cell phones and immediately left the area.

Following an investigation by the Scotch Plains Police Department, Outland was arrested in January 2016 and indicted a month later.

The above incident took place when Outland was free on bail in connection with an unrelated robbery that took place in April 2014. A jury convicted Outland on multiple charges associated with that crime in May of 2016 and he was sentenced to an extended term of 16 years in state prison for the robbery charges.