Getaway driver pleads guilty in beach-area robberies
Published - 03/16/15 - 07:45 AM | 5751 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The getaway driver in a series of 11 robberies and attempted robberies that started in Ocean Beach and expanded to Mission Beach and La Jolla has pleaded guilty to committing two hold-ups and faces up to six years in prison.

A sentencing date for Benjamin Hernandez, 24, will be set on April 20 in San Diego Superior Court, said Deputy District Attorney Michael MacNeil on March 10. The remaining nine charges will be dismissed. Meanwhile, Joseph Andres Garcia, 20, is charged with eight counts of robbery and three attempted robberies in the same series and will stand trial on April 20. Garcia has pleaded not guilty.

Hernandez was arrested Feb. 3, 2014 by San Diego police after a witness wrote down the license plate number of the BMW used a day earlier as the getaway car. It was traced to Hernandez’s home in National City. Garcia was arrested two days later.

The victims, 10 men and one woman, testified last April in the preliminary hearing. Most victims, many of whom were pedestrians, were robbed at gunpoint.

The first robbery happened about 6:50 p.m. in Ocean Beach, and other hold-ups occurred in Hillcrest, Golden Hill, Mission Beach and the Midtown area. Two students were held up at UCSD in La Jolla. Wallets and cell phones were taken from each victim.

Hernandez and Garcia remain in jail on $500,000 bail each.
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