HONESDALE – Wayne County Judge Raymond Hamill sentenced Kelley Elizabeth Branning, 30, to 40 to 96 months in a State Correctional Facility after she pleaded guilty to a felony charge for robbing the China Castel Restaurant on Main Street in Honesdale while brandishing a hand gun.
Branning wore a mask and made off with approximately $347 during the Dec. 28 incident.
District Attorney Patrick L. Robinson said the hand gun used by Branning was ultimately located by Honesdale Borough Police, who investigated the crime, and turned out to be a pellet gun.
“It was clear that the defendant, Branning, was very remorseful for her actions,” Robinson explained. “While Branning claimed she had no intent to harm anyone, her actions on December 18, 2017, were extremely dangerous. The restaurant owner could very easily have been armed, a patron could have been armed, or the responding police were obviously armed. Branning could easily have been shot or an innocent bystander could have been hit by a stray bullet. In any event the restaurant owner was extremely frightened in this episode.”
Of the 30 sentencings and guilty pleas before the court on Thursday, Robinson said well more than half were in some way drug related. “In this case,” he said, “Branning robbed the China Castle Restaurant in order to get money to buy Cocaine.
“The Honesdale Borough Police did an excellent job investigating this robbery.”
Anyone with any information regarding the sale or distribution of illegal drugs in Wayne County can report the activity to the Wayne County Drug Task Force (WCDTF) at 570-253-4912 or the text tip-line at 570-391-0657. There is an anonymous online tip form as well.