Judge decides on probation, not prison, for teen who attempted to rob Glenwood Arby’s
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – The teenager who attempted to rob the Glenwood Springs Arby’s in July, received probation and drug court rather than a prison sentence Tuesday.
Ninth Judicial District Court Judge Gail Nichols sentenced Israel Dela Rosa to three years of supervised probation, including participation in drug court, among other stipulations. Nichols also sentenced Dela Rosa to 90 days in jail, toward which he was credited for time served.
It was not a decision that Nichols came to easily, however.
“Mr. Dela Rosa, this is the case that kept me up last night,” Nichols said.
Dela Rosa, 19, pleaded guilty to one count of attempted robbery, non-aggravated (a class five felony), as part of a plea deal offered by prosecution in September.
He was arrested around 1 a.m. on July 3, after authorities spotted him running away from the restaurant shortly after police were notified of a gunshot being fired at the location.
Dela Rosa reportedly tried to enter the Arby’s by knocking on a rear door and asking an employee to let him in, but was startled when a handgun he possessed went off.
It’s that action that prosecutor Anne Kirkpatrick argued made the incident a well-thought-out plan to rob the restaurant and prompted her to ask for a three-year prison sentence.
“If that individual had opened the door, I think that we may be here on a much more serious case,” Kirkpatrick said.
“The defendant needs to be punished for engaging in this type of activity in our community,” Kirkpatrick added.
But public defender Tina Fang argued that Dela Rosa’s actions that night were “impulsive” due to a drug addiction, and that sending him to prison was not the solution.
“If the court sends him to prison, it will only aid in turning him into the criminal he is not,” Fang said.
Fang noted that Dela Rosa’s criminal history included only minor driving offenses like driving without wearing a seat belt.
In a strange turn of events, Dela Rosa admitted that he did not need the money because his father had left him a trust fund after his death in 2006, which Dela Rosa was able to live on.
Dela Rosa also admitted to being “coked up” before the incident, but that he knew what he did was wrong.
“It was wrong. It was stupid,” Dela Rosa told Judge Nichols, pleading for probation. “I don’t know why I did it, it was stupid.”
Ultimately, Nichols agreed that sending the teenager to prison was not the best course of action despite saying that the crime deserved a prison sentence.
“This is really terrible, terrible, dangerous stuff,” Nichols said. “Not only does it deserve prison, but the safety of the community would be ensured by sending you to prison.”
But Nichols said that dealing with Dela Rosa’s drug addiction to cocaine was more important that punishing him for the attempted robbery, saying that it was clear that he was not a hardened criminal capable of committing such acts.
Dela Rosa was also sentenced to write the Arby’s an apology letter and 80 hours of community service.
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