SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A man on probation for carrying a loaded handgun when he stole iPads at gunpoint from three people trying to sell the devices on Craigslist was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years and eight months in state prison.
Keith Randall Smith, 34, pleaded guilty in November to three counts of robbery and admitted personally using a firearm in the holdups. The defendant also pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Sentencing for his co-defendant, 23-year-old Ashley Jade Rapp, was rescheduled for April 10. Rapp, who acted as the getaway driver in all three robberies, pleaded guilty to three robbery counts and faces up to seven years behind bars.
Smith's attorney, Charles Guthrie, told Judge Eugenia Eyherabide that Smith went from 1996 -- when he had a grand theft and burglary conviction to 2008 when he had the loaded gun -- without picking up a new felony conviction.
"Mr. Smith was trying to better himself," Guthrie told the judge.
The attorney said nobody was hurt in the iPad robberies and a 13-year-old girl who was victimized was with her mother.
Guthrie unsuccessfully argued for a prison term of 12 years, saying Smith was on drugs when he committed the crimes over a 24-hour period.
"He's learned his lesson. He's remorseful. He wants to undo what he has done," Guthrie told the judge.
But Deputy District Attorney Melissa Vasel, arguing for the nearly 16-year sentence, said no victims were shot because they all complied out of fear.
The first robbery occurred about 9:30 p.m. last July 31. Smith pulled a gun on an iPad owner at the victim's Talmadge apartment, stole the tablet and fled, according to San Diego police.
Yasir Altaneem testified at a hearing in September that Smith pulled a gun on him after the victim showed the iPad to Rapp, who Smith said was his girlfriend.
The witness said he felt something was wrong after meeting Smith, saying the would-be robber seemed nervous.
Before summoning Rapp, Smith talked to someone on a cell phone saying, "It's just one guy," Altaneem testified.
When Rapp showed up, Smith pulled a gun from his pocket and said, "Get in the house or I'm going to blow your head (off)," the witness testified.
Altaneem said Rapp ran off with his iPad.
The other two holdups were carried out in similar fashion the next night in Mount Hope and City Heights, police said.
In one, a woman said she felt like she was going to die, Vasel told the judge Tuesday.
In the third robbery, Smith held a gun to the 13-year-old's stomach, the prosecutor said.
Smith and Rapp also stole an iPad at gunpoint from a 13-year-old girl.
Eyherabide told Smith he should have walked away when he realized his victim was a 13-year-old girl.
The judge said Smith "scared the victims to no end."
Investigators matched the cell phone number Smith used to arrange meetings with the victims to track him down.
When asked how she and Smith got the idea for the robberies, Rapp said they saw something on TV, Detective Scott Greenwood testified.
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