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Man Pleads Guilty in Theft of Guns From San Fernando Store

April 09, 1985|JANET RAE-DUPREE | Times Staff Writer

A 22-year-old San Fernando man pleaded guilty Monday to two of four commercial burglary charges in the theft of about 80 handguns from a San Fernando sporting goods store.

Albert Medina entered the guilty pleas at his preliminary hearing in San Fernando Municipal Court in return for the prosecution's agreement to seek a reduced sentence and drop two of the burglary charges when he appears for sentencing on May 6, said Deputy District Atty. Andy Diamond.

One-Hour Standoff

Medina was charged with breaking into San Fernando Sporting Goods at 1100 San Fernando Road four times between Jan. 4 and March 24, when he was arrested by sheriff's special weapons team deputies after a one-hour standoff at the store.

Diamond said Monday's plea bargain will allow Medina to serve time on an unrelated felony joy-riding charge concurrently with the burglary sentence if he pleads guilty to joy riding before that case comes to trial on April 29.

In return, Medina has agreed to help investigators find links between the San Fernando gun thefts and a similar theft from a Van Nuys pawnshop late last year, Diamond said.

Guns Used by Gangs

The guns stolen from the San Fernando store have been used in a conflict between two gangs in the eastern San Fernando Valley area, and Diamond said he "wouldn't be surprised if some of these guns are ending up in Central America" because firearms are a valuable commodity there.

"Every iceberg has its tip, and Medina is the tip of this one," Diamond said.

Medina, who is in County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail, could face a fine of up to $10,000 and a five-year prison term, defense attorney Martin Staven said, but prosecutors have agreed to seek only a three-year prison term.

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