"You're very intelligent. You're very manipulative. You're very convincing when you want sympathy. You gave this court a great presentation. You may have some talent for acting."
That was Circuit Judge Cynthia Raccuglia's description Thursday of Eddie Stiff, before sentencing him to 58 years in prison for a Peru robbery. Stiff will have to serve about 27 years.
Stiff, 50, of Chicago, wore a mask and used a .22-caliber pistol to rob McDonald's, 924 Shooting Park Road, at about 4:30 a.m. April 15, 2017. Stiff hit a male employee in his face with the gun and grabbed cash from a register. Stiff fled, but was arrested a few hours later. Police found the pistol and money.
Stiff was in prison from 1990 to 2016 for his role in a Cook County murder-robbery. He also has convictions for theft and being a felon in possession of a weapon.
Stiff pleaded guilty to the Peru holdup, but claimed he was under the influence of a drug, which someone had given him without his knowledge. Raccuglia said there was no evidence he had been drugged.
In a bid for a break, Stiff told Raccuglia that during his nine months on parole, he was a "productive citizen," working for a medical delivery service in the Chicago area. However, Stiff said he was then injured in a traffic crash and could not work his regular job. He came to La Salle County for the promise of a job, but the job did not come through. Next, while still in the county, Stiff claimed he was with a group of people, one of whom drugged him, which led to the robbery.