A second member of the “Back Door Bandits” has pleaded guilty to multiple robbery charges and is awaiting sentencing for holding up restaurants in La Jolla and elsewhere.
Duran Montiq Caldwell, 24, will face up to eight years in state prison, said Deputy District Attorney Jalyn Wang. He pleaded guilty to six counts of robbery, including multiple hold-ups of employees of the Smashburger restaurant on Prospect Avenue in La Jolla on Aug. 4, 2013.Sentencing was set for Dec. 1 by San Diego Superior Court Judge Charles Rogers. Caldwell remains in the South Bay Detention Facility without bail.
Wang said no customers were held up in the incidents. She said the charges against Churchill represent 14 incidents at different stores.
The group got its name from entering and exiting out the back doors of restaurants, such as when they held up the Smashburger for $4,000.
The alleged ringleader, Ryan Patrick Churchill, 23, is set to stand trial on Dec. 2. He is charged with committing 29 counts of robbery, attempted robbery and conspiracy. He has pleaded not guilty and remains in the Vista Detention Facility on $500,000 bail.
Two Rigoberto’s taco shops and the El Cotixan restaurant in La Jolla were among the restaurants robbed. The others are located in Clairemont and Rancho Peñasquitos.
The getaway driver, Thomas Abel Nelson, 23, has pleaded guilty to robbing the Smashburger restaurant. He is free on $50,000 bond and is awaiting sentencing on Jan. 8. He could receive a prison term or some jail with probation, as there is no sentencing agreement with the District Attorney’s office.