Would-be carjacker in Midway pleads guilty
by NEAL PUTNAM
Published - 02/18/20 - 07:30 AM | 1293 views | 1 1 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Blue tinted monotone image of a gavel and scales of justice
Blue tinted monotone image of a gavel and scales of justice
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A would-be carjacker who didn’t know how to start a high-tech car pleaded guilty Feb. 13 to robbery and attempted carjacking at a Midway Drive store.

Surveillance video of the incident showed the robber angrily throwing the victim’s car keys in frustration after he was unable to start a 2013 Chevrolet Volt hybrid vehicle on Jan. 7, 2019.

Deputy District Attorney James Koerber said Robert John Bustillos, 40, faces a maximum sentence of 13 years in prison with a plea agreement.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Francis Devaney set sentencing for March 23. Bustillos remains in jail without bail.

The car’s owner, Juan Sandoval, earlier testified a driver must step on the brake before pushing a button to start it and also have a key fob present in order to operate the vehicle.

Sandoval said his car never left the 7-Eleven store he parked at 6 a.m. on Midway Drive while getting coffee. The charge is attempted carjacking because the vehicle was never moved. Robbery is charged as the bandit took his car keys and phone.

Koerber played the videotape of the 7-Eleven surveillance cameras at the preliminary hearing that showed Bustillos approaching the car owner as he was carrying coffee to his car.

Sandoval said Bustillos initially asked for spare change and then pointed a red satchel at him that suggested it held a gun.

“I have a gun. Give me your keys,” said Bustillos, according to the car owner.

Sandoval said the bandit also asked him for his cell phone and he handed over both items. Bustillos got into the car and Sandoval walked inside the 7-Eleven where an employee locked the door after he said he was just robbed.

The tape showed Bustillos in the car for a short time before getting out and angrily throwing the car keys, which hit the store window, in frustration.

Sandoval said a truck driver found his phone in the middle of Midway Drive and gave it back to him. He also recovered his keys.

Bustillos was arrested at another store on Midway Drive a short time later.

Court records show Bustillos was convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in Stockton in 2004. He was also convicted of robbery in 2012 in Stockton.
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February 21, 2020
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