A man was convicted after trying to rob a Santa Monica jewelry store by threatening to blow it up, an incident that forced evacuations in the surrounding neighborhood last year, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Robert Abalov, 33, of Los Angeles, pleaded no contest Monday to one count of attempted second-degree robbery in the Feb. 28 threat on the tony Montana Avenue, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
The defendant was immediately sentenced to two years in state prison, officials said.
Abalov allegedly went into Curated Los Angeles, at 1603 Montana Ave., and demanded the owner hand over stock. He threatened to bomb the place if she didn’t, though officials later determined the explosive device was fake, prosecutors said.
Police said the woman gave Abalov merchandise, but he dropped it before making it out of the store.
Both the owner and the attempted thief ran from the shop, with Abalov getting into an SUV and speeding down 15th Street, surveillance video showed.
Near the intersection with Carlyle Avenue, Abalov crashed into a car driving in front of him, injuring a 69-year-old woman inside, prosecutors said.
The security footage showed Abalov’s SUV also hit two sedans parked on the side of the road before he ditched the vehicle and fled on foot.
A manhunt ensued in the residential area north of Montana Avenue, and some were forced to evacuate their homes.
Police searched the neighborhood for five hours, but Abalov was able to elude capture for three months.
He was eventually arrested May 29 in West L.A.