Two bank robbers sentenced, charges filed for aid and abetWORTHINGTON — One of four people charged in connection with a bank robbery last summer is facing 12 felonies recently filed in Nobles County District Court, while two of her cohorts were sentenced in the past several weeks in federal court.
WORTHINGTON — One of four people charged in connection with a bank robbery last summer is facing 12 felonies recently filed in Nobles County District Court, while two of her cohorts were sentenced in the past several weeks in federal court.
For her part in the bank robbery, although she was not present for the actual event, Phothing Syhavong, 27, of Worthington, is charged with two counts of aiding and abetting first-degree aggravated robbery and one count of aiding an offender to avoid arrest. For her part in the robbery of a gun store in Vail, Iowa, Syhavong is charged with bringing stolen goods into the state, receiving stolen property and aiding an offender.
Felix Mendez, 23, and Jose Manual Osoria-Mendez, 19, were arrested July 2, 2010, after robbing the First State Bank of Rushmore. When authorities executed a search warrant on Mendez’s home, weapons were found that had been stolen from the Vail store. Charges were filed in federal court, and both later leaded guilty to armed bank robbery.
Mendez, who has a juvenile record that includes assault with a deadly weapon and attempted murder, was sentenced April 18 to 57 months incarceration in Oxford, Wis.
“(Mendez) has demonstrated a propensity to commit crimes of violence at a very young age,” the sentencing recommendation states. “The public was not protected from the defendant after his previous release from confinement and subsequent move from California to Minnesota. Obviously, the change in geography did not modify the defendant’s behavior. Hopefully, another prison sentence will do so.”
Mendez had served a 48- month sentence in 2005 for the attempted murder adjudication.
Osoria-Mendez, who reportedly drove the “getaway” car for the bank robbery and assisted Mendez with the first part of the gun store robbery, was sentenced May 10 to 50 months in prison in Iowa.
The recommendation document acknowledges his smaller role in both crimes, but states Osoria-Mendez also has a juvenile record that suggests a long-abiding disrespect for the law.
That record includes burglary, theft, domestic assault, motor vehicle theft and disorderly conduct.
“Given the defendant’s rapid descent into crimes of ever-increasing severity, the court should ensure that the sentence provided will convince him that he must reverse his descent and become a productive member of society,” the document states. “The court’s sentence should impact the defendant to ensure that his future decision-making is colored by this experience as previous sentences served by the defendant have not had the necessary effect.”
Mercedes Lovan, 20, who was the girlfriend of Osoria-Mendez, was charged last summer with aiding an offender.
She pleaded guilty in March and was given a stay of imposition in April with the condition she serve 30 days in jail.
Syhavong, whose initial charges were dismissed by the court pursuant to filing other charges, allegedly admitted to authorities she had driven the vehicle when Mendez went back to Vail for a second helping of guns.
She also told authorities she had taken some of the guns and thrown them in Lake Bella after Osoria-Mendez and Mendez were arrested for robbing the bank.
She allegedly enlisted the help of her step-father to help her bury some of the stolen guns in Cottonwood County, and when Lovan’s son found a gun hidden in the back of a couch, Syhavong concealed the weapon in a bathroom wall.
According to an interview from Mendez, Syhavong helped him put black make-up on his face to change his appearance before the bank robbery and disposed of the clothes he had worn to the bank after the robbery.
She is scheduled to make a court appearance on the new charges May 31.