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Man sentenced for stealing tri-tip during SLO robbery

Dennis Wheeler
San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office
Dennis Wheeler, 30, of San Luis Obispo

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - A San Luis Obispo man who took tri-tip while robbing a grocery store will spend five years in state prison.

Last month, a jury found Dennis Wheeler, 30, guilty of second degree robbery with an added enhancement of use of a deadly weapon.

Prosecutors say Wheeler robbed a Smart and Final on Johnson Avenue in San Luis Obispo on May 28, 2018.

While in the store, he put more than $150 worth of tri-tip steak into a bag and tried to get away through an emergency exit without paying.

A store employee who witnessed the crime ran after Wheeler.

Prosecutors say he brandished a knife at the employee’s chest in an effort to keep the merchandise.

The worker backed away and Wheeler took off on a bicycle.

A photo of him was given to San Luis Obispo police.

Officers recognized the Wheeler from previous encounters they had with him.

Prosecutors say he went to prison twice before this conviction.

Officers found Wheeler a couple hours after the robbery, less than two miles from the scene of the crime.

The jury convicted him last month after deliberating for less than an hour. Judge Hernaldo J. Baltonado sentenced Wheeler to five years in state prison Thursday morning.

Wheeler faced a maximum sentence of eight years in prison because of his prior convictions and use of a deadly weapon.

Article Topic Follows: Crime & Courts

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