Robber given seven years for multiple hold-ups in La Jolla, Mission Beach and Ocean Beach
Published - 05/19/15 - 06:36 AM | 4094 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
An armed robber charged with holding up 11 people on the same night in La Jolla, Ocean Beach, Mission Beach and elsewhere was sentenced Monday to seven years in state prison.

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

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