Ex-convict gets three years in prison for store robbery

Alvaro Joseph Cabrera

Alvaro Joseph Cabrera

An ex-convict who was charged with robbing the Blue Sky Supermarket in Chalan Piao in February was slapped with a sentence of three years in prison. Alvaro Joseph Cabrera pleaded guilty to theft and violating the terms of his probation.

In a commitment order yesterday, Superior Court Associate Judge David A. Wiseman noted that Cabrera is no stranger to the criminal justice system, having a previous theft conviction.

“As stated by the government, although there were no physical injuries, the victim has continuously suffered trauma from defendant’s unlawful acts and the potential for harm was real,” Wiseman said.

In the theft case, Cabrera was sentenced to five years in prison, all suspended except for two years. For violating his probation in a previous criminal conviction, the 24-year-old Cabrera, also known as A.J., was sentenced to one-year imprisonment. Both sentences will run consecutively, which means the total prison term for both cases is three years imprisonment.

Cabrera was given credit for eight months and 13 days of time served. He is expected to be released on Feb. 21, 2018.

After completing the sentence, Cabrera will be placed on probation for five years. He was ordered to pay $850 in restitution to Blue Sky Supermarket, $100 in court assessment fee, plus probation fee.

Acting chief prosecutor Chester Hinds had recommended the maximum sentence of five years imprisonment without parole for theft, plus the one-year suspended sentence for violating his probation.

Hinds said that Cabrera’s actions are becoming so increasingly violent that even his family does not want contact with him. His past criminal actions show that he poses a threat to the community, Hinds said.

“According to the defendant, he is sorry, but sorry cannot take away the impact of his crime,” Hinds said.

He said the victim was so traumatized by the incident that she had trouble sleeping for a month and when a probation officer interviewed her for the presentence investigation report, she couldn’t stop crying, thinking about the incident.

Hinds said the money that Cabrera stole did not go to purchase food or clothes, but to feed his addiction to methamphetamine or “ice” and poker.

Hinds noted that the current case is the same charge as the previous one, but Cabrera’s actions in this case were more desperate and violent as he used a knife to steal money.

Assistant public defender Michael Sato, counsel for Cabrera, recommended a much lesser sentence. The Office of Adult Probation recommended a two-year prison term plus the suspended sentence in the previous case.

The Office of the Attorney General originally charged Cabrera with robbery, assault with a dangerous weapon, and disturbing the peace. He pleaded guilty to theft as part of a plea deal.

Police said that Cabrera stole $850 from Blue Sky Supermarket on Feb. 21, 2015, on Saipan. According to the cashier, Cabrera approached the counter, showed her a knife and demanded money. He then took cash from the drawer then fled. A surveillance camera led to Cabrera’s identification and arrest the following day.

In May 2013, Wiseman sentenced Cabrera to 21 days in prison for stealing his girlfriend’s iPad valued at $500 and selling it to a stranger for $150. The incident happened on Jan. 28, 2013, on Saipan.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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