A Northeast Columbus man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for a string of robberies last winter.

A Northeast Columbus man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for a string of robberies last winter.

Rami Mouaffak Abdulhafeez, of Walmar Drive, pleaded guilty earlier this month to one count of aggravated robbery with a gun specification, two counts of aggravated robbery and four counts of robbery, according to the Franklin County prosecutor's office.

The charges stemmed from seven robberies between Jan. 26 and Feb. 13, 2008.

The robberies included Weiland's Market, 3600 Indianola Ave.; Fifth Third Bank's Graceland location; Creative Paints, 4738 N. High St.; Country Inn and Suites on Mediterranean Avenue; Donatos at 4238 Morse Road; Cooks IGA on Oakland Park; and Dollar General at 1237 Morse Road.

During most of the robberies, Abdulhafeez reportedly wore a mask and carried a gun.

Abdulhafeez was robbing businesses to purchase drugs, said Christy McCreary, spokeswoman for Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien.

The case against Abdulhafeez took nearly a year to complete. It was continued repeatedly and the first public defender appointed to represent Abdulhafeez withdrew from the case, McCreary said.

"He didn't want to face reality, trying to get a better sentence than the 20 years offered," she said.

McCreary said the string of robberies in Clintonville caused concern with residents and businesses regarding an increase in crime.

Abdulhafeez pleaded guilty Jan. 15 and was sentenced by Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Patrick Sheeran.

jnesbitt@thisweeknews.com