An ex-felon was sentenced on Tuesday to 18 years in state prison for robbing three businesses in Alameda at gunpoint in a 25-minute period in 2016.
Alameda County prosecutors and Alameda police said 30-year-old Richard Joseph Lachaux of Hayward robbed a Walgreens store at 2300 Otis Drive at the South Shore Center, a nearby Wells Fargo ATM at 2260 Otis Drive and Alameda Cellars at 2425 Encinal Ave. between 9:20 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. on June 12, 2016.
No one was hurt during the robberies and Lachaux was arrested in San Francisco at about 11:30 p.m. that night.
Lachaux was charged with a total of 14 felony counts plus a number of enhancements, but at hearings on Oct. 18 and Nov. 7 prosecutors agreed to a deal in which he was allowed to plead no contest to just three counts: one count of first-degree robbery and two counts of second-degree robbery, plus an enhancement that he used a firearm.
Lachaux has three prior convictions: being a felon in possession of a firearm in Alameda County, forgery in Los Angeles County and receiving stolen property in San Francisco.
But in the plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to let him only admit one of them, the receiving stolen property conviction, for sentencing purposes.
Lachaux’s plea meant that he faced a sentence of between 18 and 26 years, and Alameda County Superior Court Judge James Cramer on Tuesday sentenced him to the lowest possible term of 18 years.
Alameda police Officer Alex Keden wrote in a probable cause statement that after Lachaux entered the Walgreens, he removed a handgun from his waistband, fired a shot into the ceiling, ordered employees and customers to the ground and then stole about $315 in cash from the register and customers as well as a customer’s wallet.
Lachaux then fled and fired an additional round outside the store, according to Keden.
At the Wells Fargo ATM, Lachaux approached two customers who were depositing money and demanded that they withdraw money from the machine but became impatient and tried to withdraw the money himself and the victims were able to flee, Keden wrote.
At Alameda Cellars, Lachaux announced that he was committing a robbery, displayed a handgun and ordered the employee who was on duty and customers to get on the floor, according to Keden.
Lachaux then ordered the employee to give him money from the cash register and the employee, who feared for his safety, gave him $500 in cash. He next pointed his gun at the customers as he searched through their pockets and fired one round into the air as he fled the store, according to Keden.
Lachaux was identified as the suspect through surveillance camera footage and photo lineups that were shown to the victims, according to Keden. Lachaux’s attorney Seth Morris said at the Oct. 18 hearing that the plea agreement resulted from a number of conferences with Judge Cramer and after he presented mitigating evidence that Lachaux suffers from mental health problems and drug addiction.