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Man sentenced to 5 years in prison for robbery at Smart & Final in San Luis Obispo

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Posted at 10:49 PM, Dec 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-13 13:54:31-05

A man was sentenced to five years behind bars for stealing more than $150 worth of tri tip from a San Luis Obispo store.

The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office says it took jurors less than an hour to convict Dennis Chapman Wheeler, 30, of the second-degree robbery charge and of use of a deadly weapon enhancement in November following the trial.

The 30-year-old was reportedly arrested about two hours after the May 28 robbery at Smart and Final on Johnson Avenue in San Luis Obispo.

The DA’s Office says Wheeler put more than $150 worth of tri-tip into a bag and tried to leave through an emergency exit at the store without paying.

A store employee reportedly saw what happened and tried to run after the suspect, but officials say Wheeler then pulled out a knife and held it against the employee’s chest before taking off on a bicycle

Police were notified and caught up with Wheeler about 2.5 hours later, officials say.

He faced up to eight years in state prison due to prior convictions and the use of a deadly weapon, according to the DA’s Office, but a San Luis Obispo County Superior Court judge on Thursday ultimately handed down a sentence of five years behind bars.

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Dennis Wheeler