A man who admitted in August to trying to rob a Niskayuna bank in what his attorney said was an attempt to fuel his drug addiction was sentenced Friday to up to four years in state prison.
The sentence from Schenectady County Court Judge Karen Drago also came with an ultimatum: If he doesn’t get his addiction under control, he will continue to be involved in the legal system and in jail.
“If you want to live the life of an addict, this is it, right here, right now,” Drago told Robert Costello. “You’re in orange, shackled and going over to the jail and going to state prison.”
Drago also told Costello that she believes he has the tools to address his addiction. But it’s up to him to use them and choose a different life for himself.
Costello, 31, formerly of Watervliet, pleaded guilty in Schenectady County Court in August to one count of third-degree attempted robbery. He was sentenced Friday to a total of two to four years in state prison.
He admitted to walking into the Trustco Bank on State Street in Niskayuna on March 20 and trying to rob it. Suspicions about Costello were immediately raised as he walked into the bank with a white cloth covering his face, prosecutors have said. A manager yelled at him to take the covering off, but he instead walked up to a teller and gave her a note demanding cash. No weapon was displayed or implied.
He left the bank without getting any cash.
Schenectady police Officer Sammy Quinones spotted Costello fleeing with the mask. The off-duty rookie followed him, leading on-duty police to Winston Place, where they arrested Costello. Quinones was honored for his actions at a ceremony in May.
Costello, authorities soon concluded, was involved in another heist in Colonie days before — a March 16 robbery at the Pioneer Savings Bank on Route 7. He later was charged and convicted in that case, as well. His Schenectady County sentence is to run at the same time as his Albany County sentence.
Costello was represented by attorney Michael Horan.
Drago referenced the presentence investigation report in the case, which concluded Costello’s ability to turn his life around appeared slim.
Drago said it’s up to Costello to prove that wrong.
“If you don’t want to, that’s OK,” Drago said, “just get used to [incarceration].”