FONTANA: A dog thief was sentenced last week to more than 22 years in state prison for stealing 10 Yorkshire terriers from an elderly woman.
Victorino Flores and another man went to the woman's home under the pretext of buying a puppy. The 81-year-old victim, a dog breeder, had advertised the animals for sale in newspaper classified ads.
Once Flores and the other man were inside, two more robbers entered the home with a gun.
They made off with eight purebred puppies and two "mama dogs." The dogs are valued at $2,000 to $5,000 each. One of the puppies died before police solved the crime. Another was returned to the woman in ill-health.
"They were nice and fat," Deputy District Attorney Tristan Svare said. "They were healthy dogs before the defendant got involved."
A jury convicted Flores in July this year of felony counts, including robbery, burglary, grand theft, false imprisonment, conspiracy, elder abuse and animal cruelty.
Flores' attorney, Frank Scott, asked the judge to sentence Flores to no more than nice years in prison, the same as the sentence previously given to the other three defendants.
However, Davis said the other defendants received lighter sentences because, unlike Flores, they agreed to plea deals with prosecutors before a trial.
The judge also ordered Flores to repay the victim $3,000 for the puppy that died. Flores must serve more than 18 years before he is eligible for parole.