Frederick Lopez, 28, has been sentenced to 120 months (10 years) in federal prison after being found guilty of four armed robberies, all aimed at GameStop stores in Los Angeles and Orange Counties that left Lopez pocketing over $132,000 in merchandise and cash. In addition to serving time, Lopez is expected to pay $132,300 in restitution. Meanwhile, in addition to being found guilty of armed robbery, Lopez was charged with one count of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
According to the court case, the robberies occurred between August 2018 and October 2018, and included GameStop stores located in Rowland Heights, Brea, West Covina, and Lynwood, California. Each robbery happened at night, and sometimes included another suspect. Further, each robbery is said to have happened in similar style, beginning with Lopez pulling a handgun from his waistband and threatening store employees right as he walked in. At this point, Lopez would order employees to load game consoles and video games into store bags. And given the price of video games and consoles, Lopez quickly started to accumulate a bit of wealth, though it's unclear how he planned on flipping all of this merchandise into actual dollars.
The press release, provided by The United States Attorney's Office Central District of California, adds the following about the West Covina robbery in particular:
"During the West Covina robbery on October 24, 2018, Lopez and his co-conspirator ordered the GameStop store clerks into the store’s back room, demanded their cell phones and destroyed the store’s telephone. Lopez then ordered one of the store’s clerks to help carry stolen items out to a nearby minivan. Lopez used a .40-caliber handgun during this robbery."
After the fourth robbery, Lopez had managed to steal $131,000 in merchandise and $1,300 in cash. However, the string of high profile robberies attracted the attention of the Brea Police and The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. And within a few months, Lopez was arrested. Now, almost a year after his arrest in March 2019, he's been convicted.
“The serious nature of [Lopez’s] offenses can hardly be overstated,” said prosecutor in their sentencing memorandum. “Armed robberies such as these, where firearms are brandished at victims, also leave lasting substantial stress and trauma that victims remember for years, some for their entire lives.”