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Bandit With Long Record Gets Probation : Crime: The prosecutor and a victim express outrage at the sentence for the Newport Beach man with convictions on more than a dozen robberies.


SANTA ANA — A Newport Beach man with prior convictions for more than a dozen robberies was placed on probation Friday for robbing three women in an ice cream store.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Nina Brice expressed outrage at the lenient sentence given Timothy Dobbie, 43, as did one of his victims.

But defense attorney Allan H. Stokke called the sentence by Orange County Superior Court Judge Luis A. Cardenas courageous because it gives Dobbie, a former heroin addict who is now employed at a rehabilitation center, a chance to turn his life around.

Cardenas sentenced Dobbie to 15 years in prison, but then suspended the prison term and placed him on a probation that includes mandatory drug treatment and testing for drugs and alcohol, Stokke said.

If Dobbie violates any terms of the probation, the judge can reinstate the 15-year term.

"He has this sentence hanging over his head," Stokke said.

Despite the warm weather, Dobbie wore heavy clothing and a hat to disguise himself when he entered Baskin-Robbins in Huntington Beach in May, 1992. He held his hand in his coat as if he had a gun, and demanded money from the young women, Brice said. He escaped with about $125 but was caught shortly afterward.

One of the three victims said Friday she still suffers from anxiety attacks and becomes nervous recalling the incident, which she said has left her worrying "that he might come back."

"I just don't understand how you can do something like this and then not go to prison," said the woman, who was 18 years old at the time and does not want to be identified.

Dobbie was convicted in 1977 of bank robbery and an unrelated robbery and received concurrent five-year sentences for the crimes, according to court records. He was convicted in 1982 by an Orange County Superior Court jury on 14 felony counts of robbery and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The victims in the 1982 case were mostly young women working alone in stores, Brice said.

Dobbie was committing crimes to support his heroin addiction, but voluntarily entered an intensive drug program in Los Angeles after his most recent arrest and has not touched drugs since, Stokke said. Dobbie is now working for the drug rehabilitation center, Stokke said.

Cardenas considered Dobbie's accomplishments of the last year when handing down the sentence, Stokke said.

"He's a changed man," Stokke said, adding that the sentence will allow Dobbie to pay taxes and support himself instead of sitting in a jail cell being supported by taxpayers.

Brice said she applauds Dobbie's efforts to kick his drug habit but does not believe that should work in his favor.

"I think it would be different if this was a first-time offense," Brice said.

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