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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Van Nuys

Last of 6 Defendants Sentenced in '99 Heist

September 07, 2000|CAITLIN LIU

A member of a ring that robbed $1 million from an armored truck last year was sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison, authorities said.

Luis Perez, 31, had pleaded guilty to robbery in August. The Pacoima man, who once worked for an armored truck company, was sentenced by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michelle Rosenblatt a day after co-defendant Christopher O'Connor, 25, of Palmdale, pleaded guilty to robbery and was sentenced to six years in prison.

The two men were the last of six co-defendants to be sentenced for the September 1999 heist in Van Nuys, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Keri Modder. Had they not pleaded guilty, they faced possible life sentences if convicted of kidnapping for the purpose of robbery.

The robbery was an inside job that included armored truck driver David Campbell, who had been hailed as a hero in the North Hollywood bank shootout when he drove his truck into a storm of bullets to shield police and helped save a wounded bystander.

Campbell, along with Christopher Baca, Raul Briceno and Jose Fernandez, all pleaded guilty to robbery and kidnapping and were sentenced to 7 years 8 months in state prison.

All six defendants have also been ordered to pay about $800,000 in restitution, because only about $200,000 was recovered by authorities.

"The disposition was fair for all sides," Modder said. "These guys had no records before this happened, yet they have to be held responsible for what they did."

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