Man who used meat cleaver in downtown crime spree sentenced

SAN DIEGO — A transient who threatened workers with a meat cleaver while trying to rob three downtown San Diego businesses in quick succession was sentenced Wednesday to nearly 14 years in state prison.

Richard Raymond Rivas, 53, pleaded guilty last month to robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.

Rivas — who has a 2006 conviction for voluntary manslaughter — carried out the non-injury series of would-be heists in the 500 block of C Street over several minutes beginning about 4 p.m. on April 10.

Officer John Buttle said Rivas entered the businesses and tried to take merchandise from each establishment without paying. When employees confronted Rivas, he produced a large meat cleaver and threatened them, the officer said.

About five minutes after getting the first emergency call about the robberies, patrol officers located Rivas in the 1200 block of A Street and arrested him without incident.