February 3, 2014

Fort Worth man sentenced to 99 years for phone store holdup

The robber, a 26-year-old repeat offender, took cash and then locked a phone store employee in a safe.

A 26-year-old repeat offender was sentenced to 99 years in prison for robbing a phone store employee at gunpoint and locking her in a safe before he ran away.

Osbaldo Valdez of Fort Worth was convicted Thursday of aggravated robbery and was sentenced the next day. Valdez must serve 30 years before he becomes eligible for parole.

Prosecutors Lisa Callaghan and Kim Martinez presented evidence that Valdez entered the Metro PCS Store at 901 N. Sylvania Ave. about 2 p.m. Valentine’s Day last year wearing a black mask and a hoodie. Valdez pointed a gun at the clerk and demanded all the money in the store, prosecutors said.

As the clerk opened the cash register, Valdez jumped over the counter and stood next to her, stuffing the money into his pocket while asking for more money and some Galaxy III phones, a news release from the Tarrant County district attorney’s office said.

When the clerk told Valdez that there was no more money in the store and that there were no more Galaxy III phones, Valdez demanded the store’s most expensive phones, the release said.

Valdez followed the clerk to the safe, grabbed a phone and slammed the safe door shut, trapping the clerk inside. The clerk called 911 from inside the safe, the release said.

A witness who saw the robber flee as well as surveillance footage from a camera outside the store led police to Valdez, the release said. He had been using the stolen phones to make multiple phone calls to his mother and girlfriend, the release said.

During the punishment phase of the trial in state District Judge Everett Young’s court, the jury heard that Valdez had numerous convictions for building and vehicle burglary, the release said. Valdez was also sentenced to four years in prison for assaulting a public servant in 2007, court documents say.

A Fort Worth police officer testified that Valdez repeatedly assaulted him after he caught Valdez robbing a convenience store and would not stop fighting even after a Taser was used on him, the release said.

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