MOUNT CLEMENS (WWJ/AP) – A U.S. veteran who served in Iraq has been sentenced to more than two years in prison after a judge rejected pleas for probation and mental health treatment.

Macomb County Judge Mark Switalski acknowledged Robert Charbeneau’s military service but said “public safety comes first.”

“Treatment is going to have to take a back seat to public safety,” Switalski said, noting that Charbeneau was convicted of larceny in Wayne County for stealing jewelry and other items from his stepmother’s home.

Charbeneau, who pleaded no contest to unarmed robbery, was accused of snatching the purse of a woman who had left a Fraser bank with $3,000. He told the judge that he was high on cocaine and Vicodin at the time.

Assistant Macomb County Prosecutor Steven Fox called the veteran “a drug-addicted man who preyed on others.” But Charbeneau’s supporters say his personality changed after four years in Iraq, and they believe the 25-year-old suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Charbeneau’s mother was nearly arrested following the hearing, after she yelled “F— this country” as she left the courtroom and continued her loud protests in the hall, the Macomb Daily reported.

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