Ex-con gets 144 years for robbery series

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prison sentenceSAN DIEGO — An ex-con who committed a series of robberies in Hillcrest and Old Town over a several-month period was sentenced Friday to 144 years to life in state prison.

Charles Edward Shipman, 49, was convicted in November of three counts of robbery and one count of attempted robbery. The defendant had previous convictions for robbery and attempted robbery on his record.

Police dubbed Shipman the “Incense Bandit” because one of his victims had recognized him as previously trying to buy incense before robbing the store.

The robber either simulated having a handgun in his pocket or in one case showed a gun, according to police.

Jurors convicted Shipman of twice robbing parking valets at Arrivederci restaurant on Fourth Avenue a year ago and holding up a bookstore on University Avenue.

The jury deadlocked on charges that the defendant robbed the Cathedral store on University Avenue and twice robbed Fifth Avenue Books.

Police said the robbery series began on July 21, 2011, and ended last February.

Shortly thereafter, Shipman was arrested after a camera picked up his image at an attempted robbery of a store in Old Town.

Defense attorney Vickie Fernandes contended that all witnesses misidentified Shipman as the person who robbed them.

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