One of two young men who was charged with robbing an Indio discount store and trying to hold up a second business minutes earlier pleaded guilty to the crimes today and was immediately sentenced to five years in state prison.
Angel Fernandez, 18, of Coachella, pleaded guilty to the Aug. 8 robbery of the Dollar Tree store at 42225 Jackson St. and the attempted robbery of Domino's Pizza at 81942 Highway 111.
Indio police say the crimes occurred about seven minutes apart. Fernandez's alleged accomplice, Anthony Quintana, 19, of Indio, remains at large.
Police said the robbers first entered the Domino's Pizza and acted nonchalantly, like ``just another pair of customers,'' a witness working the register told police. Quintana then allegedly approached the register and displayed ``either a gun or knife,'' while Fernandez ``stood by in the background,'' according to a declaration in support of an arrest warrant.
Quintana allegedly told the worker to ``give me the money and no one will get hurt,'' but the employee had trouble opening the register because it was locked. Fernandez then approached Quintana, said ``Hurry up, let's go,'' and the men left, the declaration states.
Seven minutes later, the Dollar Tree was robbed at knifepoint of about $300 in cash, according to police. The suspects were identified via surveillance footage at the Dollar Tree, and were picked up by clerks at both businesses in photographic lineups conducted by Indio police.
Fernandez was out on bail for an April 26 Coachella robbery -- to which he also pleaded guilty -- at the time of the Indio crimes. He was sentenced to four years for the Coachella robbery and five years for the Indio heist, though those sentences will be served concurrently, court records state.
Police advised members of the public not to contact Quintana, who ``is known to stay in various homes in Indio,'' if he is seen and instead call 911 or the Indio Police Department at (760) 391-4051.
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