Del Taco robber pleads guilty to charges; facing 15 to 25 years

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The 23-year-old man accused of robbing the Del Taco in Los Lunas last year pleaded guilty last week to armed robbery and aggravated assault charges.

Vakei Robinson pleaded guilty to charges that can give him a sentence of 15 to 25 1/2 years in prison for the crime. The sentence is part of three cases against Robinson, two of which are unrelated and in Bernalillo County.

Police said Robinson broke the drive-thru window at Del Taco and climbed into the building and demanded money from employees before he held his then-girlfriend, who was a Del Taco employee, at gunpoint as he exited the building. Robinson left in a red Cadillac shortly after.

As the car was leaving, officers fired three shots and disabled the vehicle's tires. The man headed north onto Emilio Lopez Road before abandoning the car, which still contained the woman, just north of Los Lunas High School.

Police said the woman admitted Robinson was her boyfriend and she said he committed the robbery and took an undisclosed amount of cash.

Albuquerque SWAT team and Los Lunas police detectives arrested Robinson near his mother's home in the 700 block of 110th Street in Albuquerque.

Robinson was taken into custody after jumping out of a back window and jumping fences in an attempt to flee from officers. He was uncooperative, police said, and had to be subdued with a Taser before he was taken into custody.

The woman, Ariel Gallegos, 20, of Belen, has been indicted on one count of armed robbery, three counts of first-degree kidnapping, three counts of assault, breaking and entering, larceny of more than $500 and aggravated burglary with a deadly weapon.

Her case is still pending.

The next court date for Tyshawn Moreland, the alleged getaway driver, is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 12.

Joe Allred, Robinson's attorney, said the plea deal was appropriate.

"Under the circumstances, I thought it made sense to do it," Allred said. "It was fair."

A sentencing hearing could be scheduled in the next 60 to 90 days. A pre-sentence report still must be completed.

Thirteenth Judicial District Attorney Lemuel Martinez said the plea deal allows the state to proceed to sentencing without having to go to trial. He is unsure about any type of agreement with Gallegos.

"(Robinson's case) was the main one," Martinez said. "We got that done."

Martinez said prosecutors want to send a message to potential offenders who intend to commit crimes.

"We want them to know not to rob business establishments in Valencia County or they will be severely punished," the district attorney said.


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