SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A man who threatened tellers with fake bombs during three San Diego-area bank robberies last year was sentenced Tuesday to five years in state prison.
Roberto Amado Sepulveda -- dubbed the "Bank Bomb Bandit'' -- pleaded guilty last month to three counts of robbery, two counts of using a fake bomb and one count of calling in a bomb threat.
Defense attorney Vickie Fernandes unsuccessfully argued for probation, telling Judge Dwayne Moring that Sepulveda had an insignificant felony record, was remorseful, and accepted responsibility at an early stage of the proceedings.
Moring was unmoved. He called the crimes "serious,'' noting the bomb threats and robberies forced one bank teller to quit and another to take two months off.
"If you're going to commit bank robberies, you're going to go to prison,'' the judge said.
Fernandez said a car accident led Sepulveda to become hooked on prescription pain killers and ultimately addicted to heroin and other drugs.
She said Sepulveda, 24, was under the influence of opiates and other drugs when he went on his crime spree.
"This was out of character for him,'' Fernandes said, calling the defendant's behavior "completely erratic.''
Moring rejected a plea from Sepulveda's father to keep the defendant out of prison and send him to a drug treatment program.
The defendant robbed a Chase bank branch in Imperial Beach on Nov. 17 after placing a fake bomb in front of a teller, according to Deputy District Attorney Martin Doyle.
Four days later, Sepulveda robbed an AmericanWest bank in Point Loma after pulling out a fake bomb and fake gun, the prosecutor said.
Sepulveda also held up a Navy Federal Credit Union in southern San Diego on Dec. 17, saying he had a bomb strapped to his chest and telling people "Merry Christmas'' as he left, Doyle said.
The defendant gave a full confession after the third robbery, the prosecutor said.
Thousands of San Diegans enjoyed viewing Monday's solar eclipse at events around the city as 57 percent of the sun was blocked by the moon.
If you're planning on watching Monday's solar eclipse you'll need to head east as morning clouds along the coast will likely block those near the beaches from seeing the celestial event.
Opening statements are scheduled Monday in the trial of an oft-deported Mexican citizen accused of driving drunk and fleeing the scene after blowing through a stop sign and crashing his truck into a car containing a family returning home from a day at Disneyland, seriously injuring a 6-year-old boy.
San Diego Gas & Electric officials said they expect to lose about 500 megawatts of solar energy production during Monday's eclipse, but they expect to have enough power on hand to meet demand.
People across the country are getting ready to view an historic solar eclipse. News 8's Chief Meteorologist Matt Baylow headed to a small town in Wyoming to view it and brings us the story.
In San Diego, the "Great American Eclipse" will have maximum visibility at 10:23 a.m. Monday, August 21. Southern California residents will have about 60 percent darkness at that time.
With just a week to go, many people across the U.S. are buzzing about the "Great American Eclipse."
Hundreds of people rallying against illegal immigration and counter-protesters opposing their stance were squaring off today along the shore at Broadway and Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach.
The San Diego LGBT Community Center and other social justice groups held a rally against hate in response to the Alt-Right rallies held across the country in recent days.