A 25-year-old Burlington County man will spend the next seven years in prison after he was sentenced for threatening a casino patron with a boxcutter during daring a robbery attempt at Bally’s Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, N.J., in December 2020.
Shawn P. Applewhite Jr., of Marlton, N.J., was sentenced to eight years in state prison – including nearly seven years of parole ineligibility – by Superior Court Judge Donna M. Taylor in Atlantic County on Monday.
Applewhite was also ordered to have no contact with the victim and he is permanently barred from all casinos in New Jersey.
Applewhite pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery on March 21, 2022.
Deputy Attorney General Katelyn Waegener prosecuted Applewhite and represented the Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau at the sentencing hearing.
Applewhite was arrested in an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Casino Gaming Bureau.
“The armed defendant ambushed his victim in a public venue, creating an alarming and dangerous situation for everyone present,” said acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin. “The significant prison sentence announced today underscores our commitment to public safety.”
On December 23, 2020, at about 7:35 p.m., Applewhite approached the victim from behind as he was seated at a slot machine and attempted to rob him by placing a boxcutter to the gambler’s neck and demanding money and jewelry.
The victim stood up and engaged in a physical altercation with Applewhite.
After a bystander attempted to intervene, Applewhite fled without taking any property.
The defendant was apprehended by a Bally’s security supervisor and security officer as he attempted to exit the casino.
“The Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau works closely with the State Police to investigate and prosecute crimes committed at the Atlantic City casinos, especially those that threaten the safety of patrons on the casino floors,” said Director Lyndsay V. Ruotolo of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Today this defendant is reaping the consequences of his brazen and unlawful conduct and we’re sending a message that this type of criminal activity will not be tolerated.”
“The troopers assigned to the New Jersey State Police Casino Gaming Bureau acted swiftly and decisively in charging the defendant for his blatant criminal acts,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “We strive to make Atlantic City’s casinos a safe place for everyone to enjoy and we will continue to work diligently with our partners, both in law enforcement and the community, to accomplish that goal.”
Waegener prosecuted the case under the supervision of Bureau Chief Erik Daab and Deputy Bureau Chief Valerie Butler of the Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau.
Platkin commended the detectives of the New Jersey State Police Casino Gaming Bureau for their investigation, as well as the security staff at Bally’s who apprehended Applewhite.