A New Mexico man accused of stealing money bags from a Durango gas station in July 2019 was sentenced to three years at Hilltop House community corrections on Friday.
Adrian Chavez, who was 39 years old at the time, was suspected of robbing three money bags containing a total of $1,750 from the Four Star Exxon in the 1200 block of Carbon Junction near Walmart.
The gas station clerk and other customers physically subdued Chavez until officers arrived.
Alexandra Herlong, representing the 6th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, requested Chavez be sentenced to three years in prison given the seriousness of the alleged crime.
Herlong said Chavez robbed a gas station in broad daylight, putting the lives of employees and customers at risk.
“We got lucky the situation was not worse than it was,” she said.
Herlong said Chavez had been convicted of another robbery and was sent to prison for three years. She also said Chavez has violated probation orders in the past and has had difficulty complying with pretrial services.
Chavez’s defense attorney, Heather Little, said the robbery was unplanned.
“This was completely unplanned, a total crime of opportunity and was the product of someone who was desperate, and quite frankly, critical thinking skills were not being utilized,” she said.
Little said video shows the store manager drop off the money bags and an employee put them under the counter. Chavez then walked around the counter while the employee was standing there and took the bags.
“This is not what we think of when we think of a robbery,” Little said. “It’s the most poorly thought out attempt at a theft that really one could imagine.”
Little said Chavez also suffers from an opiate addiction.
Briefly speaking to the court, Chavez apologized for his actions and asked for a community corrections sentence for a chance to rehabilitate.
“I’m sorry to everyone,” he said. “I deserve a chance.”
Judge William Herringer sentenced Chavez to three years at Hilltop House, which provides transitional housing to parolees and criminal offenders who are required to work and earn income while living in the community.
Herringer said Hilltop House is Chavez’s best chance for rehabilitation. If Chavez fails to meet the terms and conditions of the sentence, he could be resentenced to three years in prison.