Robber sent to prison

Cary Ashby • Feb 21, 2013 at 9:07 PM

A Norwalk man was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in prison for stealing a wallet from a neighbor.

Randy Soto, 21, formerly of 23B Newton St., pleaded guilty to an amended charge of robbery, a third-degree felony. Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway followed the joint recommendation of Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Richard Woodruff and Huron County Public Defender David Longo and immediately sentenced the defendant to 18 months in prison Tuesday.

As part of the plea deal, the state agreed to dismiss a firearm specification, which would have added three years to Soto's sentence. He could have faced three to 11 years in prison if convicted of the original first-degree felony, aggravated robbery.

"No gun was ever recovered," Woodruff said after the hearing. "We don't know if there ever was one."

Nobody was injured during the Nov. 18 incident at a Newton Terrace apartment, which was investigated by Norwalk Police Detective Sgt. Seth Fry. Soto was arrested in early December.

Police have said Soto burst into an apartment with a possibly drug-related intent and "ended up robbing people." Investigators originally identified three victims, one of whom is a suspected drug dealer who hasn't been indicted.

Woodruff clarified the situation Tuesday, saying Soto "was in cahoots" with one of the victims and stole $190 from one person's wallet while threatening to use unspecified force.

"It was an inside job, you might say," the prosecutor said.

"No one actually got hurt," Longo said in court.

"The victims kind of barricaded the cops themselves," he added, alluding to an earlier allegation of some of the victims of lying to police.

Soto, who must pay $190 in restitution to the victim, declined to speak in court before he was sentenced.

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