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Felon gets 7 years for violent robbery of Lyft driver in Anaheim

A 27-year-old convicted thief was sentenced Friday to seven years in prison for attacking and robbing a Lyft driver in Anaheim.

Samuel Nicholas Rodriguez was originally charged with assault with the intent to commit a sex offense, but was ultimately convicted of misdemeanor assault on Dec. 26. He was also convicted of robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and dissuading a witness by force, all felonies. Jurors also agreed on sentencing enhancements for the personal use of a deadly weapon.

Rodriguez was given credit at his sentencing for 495 days in custody.

Rodriguez, who is a transient, called for a Lyft ride about 7:15 a.m. Dec. 18, 2022, and was picked up on Crone Avenue in Anaheim, prosecutors said in court papers.

The Lyft driver was taking him to Lemon Tree Motel on East Lincoln Avenue as requested and along the way he “asked her numerous questions about her personal life,” prosecutors said, adding he asked if the driver had a boyfriend and “made comments about how he liked her body.”

Before they got to the motel, Rodriguez said he changed his mind and wanted to get to a house in the 1700 block of East Lincoln Avenue at the end of a dead-end street, prosecutors said.

When the driver parked, Rodriguez “came up behind her while she was still seated in the driver’s seat, and held a knife to her throat,” prosecutors said.

He made the woman get in the backseat and pulled on her clothes in a way that made her think he was trying to strip them off of her, prosecutors alleged. The victim managed to push the defendant away, jump out of the car and run toward nearby homes for help, prosecutors said.

Rodriguez ran away but when the victim returned to her car, she saw he took $360 in cash from her, prosecutors said.

Before the robbery, he had been in custody from Dec. 2 to Dec. 13, 2022, according to jail records. Rodriguez pleaded guilty in August of 2022 to theft with a prior felony conviction of driving or taking of a vehicle and misdemeanor petty theft.

Rodriguez pleaded guilty in April of 2022 to a felony count of stealing a car with a prior felony conviction.

The defendant pleaded guilty in April of 2021 to a felony count of buying or receiving a stolen vehicle or equipment with a prior felony conviction and a misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.


Source: Orange County Register

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