You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Plainfield man convicted of 2015 robbery for second time

Courier News (Bridgewater, NJ) logo Courier News (Bridgewater, NJ) 6/27/2022 Suzanne Russell,

ELIZABETH - For the second time since 2017, a Plainfield man has been found guilty of robbing a Scotch Plains fast food restaurant where he formerly worked.

Thomas H. Outland, 49, was convicted last week by a Union County jury of conspiracy to commit robbery, a second degree crime and possession of an imitation firearm, a fourth degree crime, following a six-day trial before Union County Superior Court Judge Robert A. Kirsch, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel announced.

This was the second time Outland had been tried for the robbery. In June 2017 Outland was found guilty by a Union County jury on the same charges, but that conviction was overturned in March 2021 by the New Jersey Supreme Court on the grounds Outland was improperly denied the right to represent himself at trial. Outland chose not to represent himself at the second trial.

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

Local newsRahway woman charged in Linden bank robbery, using fake gun

According to the prosecutor's office, the unidentified second suspect demanded the cell phones of some of the employees who were cleaning the restaurant at the end of their shift while Outland, who had formerly worked at the restaurant, walked directly toward the manager's office where the restaurant safe was located. On his way Outland was intercepted by a store employee who said Outland's weapon was fake and suggested he could get killed.

Gavel and Themis statue in the court library. © Zolnierek, Getty Images/iStockphoto Gavel and Themis statue in the court library.

Outland then removed his mask, lowered his imitation firearm and announced his actions were a practical joke. Outland and his co-conspirator then returned the cell phones and left the restaurant, according to the prosecutor's office.

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

Crime news:Smash-and-grab robbery hits Woodbridge jewelry store

The Scotch Plains incident occurred while Outland was free on bail in connection with an unrelated April 2014 robbery. In that incident Outland and two other unidentified suspects made off with about $35,000 in cash from a Plainfield check cashing store, according to the prosecutor's office and Plainfield police. Outland was convicted by a jury in May 2016 of multiple charges associated with that crime.

Two months later in June 2016 Outland was sentenced to an extended term of 16 years in state prison for the Plainfield robbery due to his other prior felony convictions, with 85 percent of that term required to be served before the possibility of parole under New Jersey's No Early Release Act (NERA).

When Outland is sentenced in the Scotch Plains case on Aug. 19, 2022 the state will seek a term to run consecutive to the 16 year sentence imposed for the Plainfield robbery, the prosecutor's office said.

This article originally appeared on Plainfield man convicted of 2015 robbery for second time


More From Courier News

Courier News (Bridgewater, NJ)
Courier News (Bridgewater, NJ)
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon