Man sentenced for violent string of video game store robberies

POMONA — A judge Friday sentenced the last of three gang members convicted of carrying out a violent string of robberies targeting video game stores — including ones in West Covina and Baldwin Park — to state prison.
Gregory Todd, 23, of Los Angeles received a sentence of 20 years and eight months after having pleaded no contest to three counts of robbery, along with special gang and gun allegations, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
Guns, Tasers, zip-ties and duct tape were the tools of this robbery crew, who are all members of the Family Swan Bloods street gang, according to the D.A.’s statement.
“More than a dozen victims were bound, stunned with a Taser and terrorized at gunpoint,” it said.
Pomona Superior Court Judge Mike Camacho sentenced co-defendants Thomas Stringer Jr., 24, of Los Angeles and Jimmy McCallum, 20, of Carson, on March 15, officials said. They each received seven consecutive life terms in prison, and will not be eligible for parole for more than 150 years, after being convicted of charged including robbery and kidnapping, as well as special gang and gun allegations.
The spree of robberies, which targeted Gamestop video game stores, were, “very well organized crimes,” Deputy District Attorney Lalit Kundani said.
The Gamestop robberies took place in Baldwin Park and West Covina on Sept. 16 of 2009, in Los Angeles on Sept. 11 of 2009, in Lynwood on Sept. 8 of 2009 and in Tarzana on July 25, 2009, he said.
In each case, employees were forced into a back room and bound with tape or zip-ties, the prosecutor said. The robbers then removed the surveillance camera systems from the businesses before leaving.
In the Lynwood robbery, he added, two employees were shocked with a Taser gun before being bound and robbed.
Todd, Stringer and McCallum were arrested by West Covina police officers shortly after the heist in their city, Kundani said
A witness reported seeing a suspicious van parked at an apartment complex shortly after the West Covina robbery, he said, with several men transferring large bags from the van to another vehicle.
The van was abandoned and the second vehicle was gone by the time officers arrived, but they found and arrested Todd, Stringer and McCallum on foot in the area, Kundani said.
Continued investigation into the robberies led investigators and prosecutors to build a case against five other members of various Los Angeles-based street gangs in connection with the Gamestop robberies, as well as at least eight additional robberies in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties, Kundani said.
A 37-count felony indictment was filed against the five new defendants in May, officials said, and they’re due in Pomona Superior Court April 8 for a pretrial conference.
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