‘Stolen valor’ bandits who robbed stores in military uniforms get lengthy sentences

Police outside the site of a 'Stolen Valor' bandits robbery on College Grove

SAN DIEGO — Two men who wore stolen Marine Corps clothing during a series of armed robberies at eateries and convenience stores in San Diego were each sentenced Friday to lengthy prison terms.

David Magana, 28, pleaded guilty last year to 11 counts of robbery, conspiracy, auto theft and personal use of a firearm and was sentenced to 22 years behind bars.

Joseph Olmos, 25, pleaded guilty to eight robbery charges, conspiracy, auto theft and evading police and received 16 years in prison.

“I’m very sorry. I know everything was wrong,” Olmos said before he was sentenced.

Deputy District Attorney James Koerber said Magana and Olmos “terrorized” their victims for the “sake of a few hundred dollars.”

Magana’s attorney, Casey Donovan, told Judge Kathleen Lewis that his client was in “desperate straights,” living out of his car and trying to support three children when he committed the robberies.

Magana told the judge he took full responsibility for his actions and will come out of prison a better person.

The robbery spree — dubbed the “Stolen Valor” bandit series because of the military gear worn in at least one of the holdups — happened between January and March 2016 at five establishments, including BBB Shoes in National City, Sombrero’s on West Main Street in El Cajon and Jamba Juice on College Grove Way. In two other robberies, the thieves got away with more than $800 and a person’s wallet, authorities said. In the March 3, 2016, robbery at Sombrero’s, one of the robbers fired a shot as the criminals made their getaway, Koerber said.

A military footlocker and stolen Marine Corps clothing were recovered at Magana’s residence, and investigators also found military clothing in Olmos’ car.

A third defendant, 27-year-old Jonathan Esquivel, pleaded guilty to one robbery count at an earlier hearing.