Would-be carjacker in Point Loma who couldn't start hybrid car gets 7 years
by NEAL PUTNAM
Published - 08/05/20 - 09:30 AM | 1529 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A frustrated would-be carjacker who couldn't even start the hybrid car he stole on Midway Drive was sentenced on July 31 to seven years in state prison.

Robert Bustillos, 41, received six years in prison on his guilty plea to robbery from San Diego Superior Court Judge Lauren Halgren, who then added an extra year for a crime Bustillos committed while in jail.

Halgren remarked the actual crime was the robbery of the car keys and cell phone Bustillos took from Juan Sandoval at 6 a.m. on Jan. 7, 2019 after Sandoval parked his Chevrolet Volt outside the 7-Eleven store at 2387 Midway Drive.

Sandoval testified previously that he thought Bustillos had a gun so he gave him his car keys and phone before running inside the 7-Eleven, where an employee locked the door. 

Bustillos didn't know how to get the hybrid vehicle to start. Security video showed Bustillos getting out, and apparently angry. He threw the keys, which hit the glass window of the 7-Eleven. He threw the cell phone in the street, where a driver saw it and picked up before any car had run over it.

Sandoval testified a driver must step on the brake before pushing a button and a driver must also have a key fob present in order to operate the vehicle. The car never moved and Bustillos pleaded guilty to attempted carjacking.

Bustillos also pleaded guilty to felony battery of a sheriff's deputy when he threw a container of urine on the deputy while making a derogatory comment on Nov. 22, 2019. 

"He made comments he knew what he was doing (to the deputy)," said the judge.

Deputy District Attorney James Koerber sought a 13-year prison term, citing his criminal record that includes a 2003 conviction in Stockton of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in which Ramon Jesus Contreras was killed. Records say Bustillos collided with another car and injured two other people. He had been driving at .15 blood/alcohol level.

A San Diego Police officer arrested Bustillos after finding him inside a Smart & Final store at 2804 Midway Drive. Bustillos had been homeless in the area at the time.

Halgren gave Bustillos credit for serving 657 days in jail. Bustillos appeared on a video screen from jail and the attorneys appeared remotely on video screens as well because the courts are still mostly closed due the coronavirus. Some of the audio proceedings are live screened on the YouTube channel on the Superior Court website.

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