A 27-year-old Upland man was sentenced Friday to 18 months in federal prison for being the getaway driver in a Southland robbery spree with another man.
Nicholas Elijah Marino, who pleaded guilty March 6, was behind the wheel in up to 13 robberies that included co-defendant Jeffrey Alexander Lecates, 30, who was sentenced May 10 to 41 months in prison for 15 robberies of Walmart stores, a bank robbery and an attempted bank robbery in Southern California, according to prosecutors.
Marino’s attorney, Karren Kenney, argued for an 18-month term while prosecutors advocated for two years.
Marino’s attorney argued for a lesser sentence because he was not the in-store robber and was not along for all of the heists.
U.S. District Judge Josephine Staton ordered Marino to pay $36,641 in restitution to Walmart.
The robbery spree began on July 6 of last year through Oct. 21 of 2018.
Federal prosecutors said the pair took almost $55,000 from a Bank of America branch and Walmart. Lecates, in his plea deal, admitted one bank robbery and two Walmart stickups.
The spree started July 6 at a Bank of America branch at 18691 Main St., Huntington Beach. He stole $1,500 in the heist.
The Walmart stores robbed were in Westminster, Long Beach, South Gate, Pico Rivera, Huntington Beach, Brea, Pomona, Laguna Niguel, Corona, Rosemead, Lakewood, Temecular, Cerritos and Anaheim, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
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