A National City man who admitted to robbing a South Bay credit union office last spring and then leading sheriff’s deputies on a 40-minute foot chase was sentenced Monday to nearly five years in federal prison.
In a plea agreement, Tulio David Gasca, 24, conceded that he entered a North Island Credit Union branch in Imperial Beach with a mask covering his face early on the afternoon of March 5, approached a teller and demanded money. He stole $4,210 in cash before running out of the office.
An off-duty correctional officer who happened to be in the area chased Gasca, who sprinted through the grounds of a nearby apartment complex and out a gate into an alley, after which the pursuing lawman lost sight of him.
A sheriff’s helicopter crew searched the area from the air, eventually spotting Gasca a few blocks from the site of the crime. A deputy caught up to Gasca and grabbed him, but the suspect managed to wrench himself free and bolted again.
When the deputy caught up to Gasca and tried to stop him with an electric stun gun, Gasca resisted, injuring him. The suspect then took off running again.
Deputies ultimately found Gasca hiding in a yard behind a 13th Street house and arrested him.
The stolen money remained unaccounted for until the next day, when a woman reported finding a large amount of currency while cleaning shelves in her back yard, where Gasca had been found the day before. Deputies returned to her home and recovered $3,862. It was unclear what had happened to the other $348.
U.S. District Judge John Houston ordered Gasca to serve 55 months in prison. The robbery charge to which the defendant pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential custody term of 20 years.
— City News Service
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