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Robber apologizes, says she ‘just did something stupid’

HILO >> A woman convicted of using a handgun to rob a Hilo clothing store of $257 was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison.

Tia Nohealani Menino, 24, pleaded guilty in October to second-degree robbery and keeping a pistol in an illegal place, the Hawaii Tribune Herald reported. Prosecutors dropped charges of first-degree robbery and using a firearm in the commission of a felony.

The charges stem from a robbery just before noon Jan. 31 at Rainbow-Jo women’s clothing boutique and Tiny Bubbles baby clothing boutique, which have different owners but share space.

Clerk Rachel Conder told police a woman entered, brandished a handgun and demanded cash from Rainbow-Jo’s cash register. Conder handed over $137.

The woman demanded money from Conder’s purse and “wanted to know who she was.” Conder gave the woman $20 from her purse but refused to give her name. Conder handed over another $100 from Tiny Bubbles’ cash register, she told police.

As the robber drove off in a pickup, Conder took a cellphone photo and recorded the vehicle’s license plate. She identified Menino from a photo lineup, according to court documents.

Menino told police she “just did something stupid” because she owed her boyfriend money.

Conder was traumatized by the robbery and quit her job at the boutique, said deputy prosecutor Shannon Kagawa. She said the state was satisfied with the sentence.

Menino apologized at the hearing.

“I apologize to the victim and I apologize to the state,” Menino said. “I will follow through with whatever consequences the state gives me.”

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