Grain ‘N’ Grape Robbery: Clerk pleads guilty

ESCANABA – The store clerk who lied to police about an alleged robbery at the Grain ‘N’ Grape last summer will be sentenced in Delta County Circuit Court next month.

After admitting to assisting in the robbery, Annaelise Marie Ambrose, 23, of Escanaba, pleaded guilty to two charges during a plea agreement in circuit court Friday.

She will be sentenced in July on one count of attempted larceny in a building and one count of lying to a police officer investigating a larceny. Each charge carries a maximum punishment of two years in prison.

Ambrose admitted Friday that on Aug. 3, 2012, while working at the convenience store at 6998 U.S.2/41 & M-35, she took money from the cash register and gave it to her friend, Abby Beth Johnson, 21, of Escanaba. After waiting a few minutes, she activated the store’s silent alarm. Ambrose said Johnson had previously discussed the robbery plans.

Ambrose also admitted in court that during investigation of the alleged robbery, she gave police a false description of the robber and also said she did not know the suspect.

Ambrose initially told police she was robbed at gunpoint by a masked man who demanded money and then fled the store. Liquor and cigarettes were also taken from the business.

In exchange for Ambrose’s two guilty pleas Friday, the prosecution agreed to dismiss three other charges against her: larceny in a building, aid & abet; conspiracy to commit larceny in a building; and lying to a police officer during investigation of a violent crime, each a four-year felony.

Another condition of Ambrose’s plea agreement is to pay restitution to two insurance companies and the store’s owner totaling more than $6,000.

Judge Stephen Davis scheduled Ambrose to be sentenced on July 24 and told her to be prepared to immediately serve time in jail.

Johnson was sentenced last month to serve a year in the county jail for her role in the conspiracy to commit larceny at the convenience store.

A third co-defendant, Cory Michael Vanderlinden, 26, of Gladstone, will be sentenced on July 2 on a two-year count of lying to police while investigating a larceny.

The three were arrested on Feb. 7 after the Delta County Sheriff Department received a tip on the robbery through the Crimestoppers website.