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GOSHEN — A man who admitted to taking part in a robbery was sentenced Thursday, June 5, at the Elkhart Circuit Court.
Sergio Rocha, 27, of Elkhart, was sentenced to 6 years in prison, with two of those years suspended and on probation.
Rocha pleaded guilty to one count of robbery as a Class C felony. He was initially charged with robbery while armed with a deadly weapon as a Class B felony.
The robbery Rocha admitted to taking part in was one of a string of robberies in the north side of Elkhart between January and February 2013. Rocha’s two co-defendants, Nicholas Chaplin, 25, and Abigail Pifer, 20, pleaded guilty to their charges in 2013.
According to court files, Rocha was allegedly the driver who took Chaplain and Pifer on Jan. 25, 2013 to a Low Bob’s Tobacco store on Cassopolis Street.
During the sentencing hearing, deputy prosecutor Don Pitzer said the people who entered the store were holding a “particularly menacing” weapon, like a hatchet, and threatened to take one of the victim’s purse.
Pitzer also pointed out Rocha’s criminal history, as well as his drug and alcohol abuse issues.
"This person has been in and out of the system for quite a while,” he said.
Rocha apologized to the court and said he would like to find a way to express his remorse to the victims of the robbery.
"In the past year I’ve had a lot to think about,” he said. “I’ve spent hours thinking what my life has come to.”
The Jan. 25 robbery was one of 11 robberies that took place in just over a month. Other suspects involved in the other robberies include Jacob Wing, Jacob Estep, — who was linked to seven robberies — and Timothy Cramer.