Live: Pair of Key Witnesses Testify in Impeachment Inquiry Hearing

Pico Rivera Man Gets 25 Years to Life in Prison for String of 2-Dozen Cell Phone Store Robberies

Surveillance camera footage captured a robbery at a La Habra cell phone store on Dec 21, 2018. (Credit: La Habra Police Department)

Surveillance camera footage captured a robbery at a La Habra cell phone store on Dec 21, 2018. (Credit: La Habra Police Department)

A man accused of carrying out dozens of armed robberies at cell phone stores throughout Southern California received a sentence of 25 years to life in prison Thursday after admitting to a single crime, authorities said.

Michael Anthony Tapia, 52, also admitted to having two prior felony convictions for attempted robbery in 2001 and robbery 1998, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a written statement.

He was originally charged with 24 counts of robbery for the Los Angeles County crimes alone, as well as one count of kidnapping to commit robbery, following his arrest in February of 2018, prosecutors said.

Investigators said he was also suspected in dozens more crimes in Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. It was not clear Friday whether Tapia would face additional charged in those jurisdictions.

The string of robberies spanned Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino Riverside counties in 2017 and 2018, according to prosecutors and police.

The investigation was spearheaded by the West Covina Police Department, who ultimately found and arrested him. Three of the crimes took place in their city, West Covina police spokesman Rudy Lopez said at the time.

“Under the terms of a negotiated plea agreement, the defendant waived all credit for time already served in jail and is required to pay restitution to all of the victims named in the case,” according to the D.A’s Office statement.

Tapia pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree robbery during his appearance Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court and admitted his prior robbery convictions, officials said. Twenty-three additional counts of robbery and one count of kidnapping to commit robbery were dismissed, along with a special allegation of using a firearm in the crimes.

If he had been convicted as initially charged, Tapia could have faced a sentence of life in prison.


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