Man gets prison for his role in charity jug heist
Drove getaway car after theft of donation jar from liquor store
A man who admitted being the getaway driver during a robbery of charity donation cash at a North Avenue liquor store was sentenced Friday to serve two years in prison.
Bobby Lloyd Mestas, 42, faced anywhere from two to six years in prison after pleading guilty to misdemeanor theft and violating probation terms during a hearing before Mesa County District Judge Valerie Robison. Mestas could have also received probation in the case, and he made that request in an apologetic address to the judge Friday.
“What’s DOC (Department of Corrections) going to teach me? How to play cards, how to break the law better?” Mestas asked Robison.
Mestas was being supervised on probation stemming from an auto theft conviction in 2008. During the course of his supervision, Mestas committed three new law violations, Deputy District Attorney Jeremy Savage said.
Savage, who prosecuted Mestas’ 2008 case, reminded Robison of Mestas’ words during sentencing.
“If I mess up on probation, please send me to prison,” Mestas said during sentencing in the 2008 case.
Mestas told investigators he was behind the wheel of a van on Dec. 3, 2012, as a second suspect walked inside Enterprise Liquor, 2923 North Ave., and ran away with a 5-gallon water jug on the counter in which staff was collecting donations for a local high school student toward financing a study-abroad trip. The jug was believed to have $500 to $800 in cash, according to an arrest affidavit.
A clerk jumped into a vehicle and pursued the suspects, who fled in a white van.
The clerk caught up with the van at a stop light on the Interstate 70 Business Loop and yelled at the driver to return the money.
The driver replied, “What money?” to which the clerk said, “The money you were just counting,” reads the affidavit.
The case was cold until Dec. 13, when an anonymous tipster identified Mestas as the suspect. Mesa County sheriff’s deputies arrested Mestas on Dec. 21 after he apparently ran out of gas while driving the same white van.
Mestas has refused to identify the second person involved in the jug heist, Savage told the judge.
Mestas was ordered to pay $650 in restitution for the charity cash.