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David Randall Lacey

David Randall Lacey

HELENA — A Helena man who police said gained a free pizza and sympathy in January from a restaurant worker he was trying to rob admitted Wednesday to having a knife in the incident — and to selling methamphetamine to a police informant on a separate occasion.

Prosecutors said David Randall Lacey, 33 at the time, concealed his face with a bandanna, told a clerk at Papa John’s on Prospect Avenue that he had a knife and demanded money.

But he then broke down in tears, telling the clerk he needed the money for his wife and children, police said. Instead of money, the clerk gave him pizza, wings, soda and kind words.

Later, police said, Lacey admitted to making up the story about the family when he realized how little money was in the cash register.

He was charged with felony robbery and later with four counts of selling methamphetamine to an informant last year.

As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors changed the burglary charge, which carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison; to assault with a weapon, punishable by up to 20 years in prison; and dropped the remaining drug counts.

His public defender indicated in court Wednesday that Lacey has problems reading.

District Judge Mike Menahan set sentencing for July 3.

Lacey remains in Lewis and Clark County jail.

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