A 20-year-old man told a judge Friday that he kidnapped and robbed his boss at a local pizzeria so that he could pay off medical bills and raise money for college.
Stanley A. Perez, also known as Juan A. Temido, told Superior Court Judge Ellen Kalama Clark that he is sorry he stole more than $10,000 from Rocky Rococo Pizza and Pasta in June.
“This is something that never should have happened,” Perez said. “There is not enough words in the world to explain my true feelings. I’m truly very sorry.”
Clark ordered Perez to spend four years in prison, minus the 244 days he’s already spent in the Spokane County Jail. He pleaded guilty to first-degree kidnapping, first-degree robbery and theft.
According to court records, an hour after Perez got off work on June 24, he re-entered the restaurant at 10:15 p.m. wearing a bandanna over his face and latex gloves on his hands.
He rushed into the upstairs office at 520 W. Main and confronted assistant manager Kellie M. Crocker. The suspect put a hand over Crocker’s mouth and ordered her to get down.
She resisted but the man put a knee in the center of her back, a stocking cap over her head and face, and then used duct tape to fasten her hands behind her back, according to court records.
The robber took money out of Crocker’s pocket and then took $10,000 from a safe. Crocker eventually freed herself and tried to call 911, but the phone lines had been cut.
The robber ran downstairs; other employees tried to stop him, but he ran out the door and locked it, preventing them from pursuing him, according to court records. All three employees identified Perez as the robber.
Because it was Hoopfest weekend, Spokane police had double the number of officers on patrol. Officer Dan Waters, who was working bicycle patrol, saw that Perez matched the description from the robbery call and chased him to the Canada Island suspension bridge.
He arrested Perez there, but not before the robber threw the backpack full of money into the Spokane River. It was later recovered.
Defense attorney Rob Cossey said Perez admitted his guilt as soon as he was caught.
“He gave more details than probably any client I ever had,” Cossey said. “His family is in the courtroom. They are in shock that this young man, who has no criminal record, did this.”
After accepting the plea, Judge Clark asked Perez why he had done this.
“I was under a lot of stress. I needed to pay off some hospital bills. I also needed to pay for college, and I didn’t have any money,” he said. Perez later explained that he had $1,300 worth of emergency room bills from asthma attacks.
Clark’s tone then took a sharper edge.
“I’m a little concerned when you say this was a mistake,” she said. “A mistake is a wrong number that you dial. This was a planned, calculated action that you took.”
Clark read a letter from Crocker, who explained the emotional problems she continues to suffer.
“She’s going to be affected by this the rest of her life,” Clark said of Crocker. “I hope you understand that. What you did to this lady was horrible.”