Restitution to the victims of Joseph Andres Garcia, of San Diego, will be determined in a later hearing. San Diego Superior Court Judge Timothy Walsh gave Garcia credit for a year in jail and fined him $4,533.
Before his arrest, Garcia, 20, posted this question on his Facebook page: “Who knows how to unlock an iPhone 4?” The iPhone 4 is the type stolen from a UCSD student on Feb. 2, 2014. That tip led to Garcia's arrest three days later.
Garcia pleaded guilty to two robbery charges, and the other hold-up and attempted robbery charges were dismissed after Garcia agreed on April 20 to accept the seven-year sentence.
The getaway driver, Benjamin Hernandez, 24, of National City, will be sentenced May 27 after he pleaded guilty to committing two robberies. Hernandez faces a maximum six-year sentence. One of the victims remembered his car license tag; the information led to his arrest on Feb. 3, 2014.
The robberies started in Ocean Beach at 6:50 p.m. on Feb. 2, 2014, when three men on Cape May near Cable Street were approached by the robbers and a juvenile. One bandit held a tire iron. The men had their cell phones, cigarettes and a lighter stolen.
Later, a man lost his cell phone and another man lost his wallet containing $2, credit cards and ID cards on First Avenue in Hillcrest, according to the probation report. Another man was then robbed of $250 in his wallet. Another man who was standing outside his apartment that evening had a gun held to his head; his phone was stolen, and one man hit him in the back with a tire iron.
The last group robbed comprised UCSD students sitting on a bench outside a school gym. One man held a tire iron, and the students were robbed of their cell phones, student IDs, wallets and credit cards.
– Neal Putnam