An East Hampton man pleaded guilty Friday to robbing a woman of money in 2021 outside a school in Springs and later fled the state, Suffolk County prosecutors said.

Jay Rowe, 48, pleaded guilty in front of Suffolk Supreme Court Judge Richard Ambro to robbery in the first degree, kidnapping in the second degree and grand larceny in the fourth degree, county district attorney Ray Tierney said in a news release. Rowe faces up to 9½ years in prison and five years post-release when he is to return to court May 19, prosecutors said.

As part of Rowe’s plea, he will forfeit $3,045 in proceeds of the crime that was recovered from him. East Hampton Town police said at the time of the incident, Rowe robbed the victim of $8,000.

“This defendant stalked and preyed upon the victim here and brazenly took by force what did not belong to him,” Tierney said in a release. “His actions demand extensive prison time.”

Rowe’s attorney, Colin Astarita of Southampton, said Friday evening that “under the circumstances, I think that the sentenced recommended by Judge Ambro was more than fair.”

On March 8, 2021, prosecutors said in court records, Rowe followed the victim, a then 38-year-old Springs woman, whom he didn’t know, to a bank in East Hampton, where she took out several thousand dollars and got into her vehicle. Rowe, prosecutors said, forced her to go to a remote location where he robbed her at gunpoint.

At the time of the incident, East Hampton police Capt. Christopher Anderson said, "what we think is she went to the bank earlier in the day and our belief is this was a crime of opportunity. That she was observed by the defendant."

Rowe fled on foot and eventually headed to Massachusetts, where he was later arrested, prosecutors said, adding that his DNA was found on the glove box of the victim’s vehicle.

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