This article originally appeared in the Friday Aug. 23, 2019 issue of the Progress Times.
Two men who robbed a jewelry store at La Plaza Mall last year will spend more than a decade in prison.
State District Judge Israel Ramon Jr. sentenced Jorge Angel Mejia, 29, of Mexico City to 15 years in prison and Javier Leobardo Olvera, 23, of Mexico City to 12 years in prison during a hearing on Monday morning.
Shoppers mistook the sound for gunshots.
Off-duty police officers — including an officer shopping with his family and another officer working a security job at the mall — responded within minutes. They arrested Mejia, Olvera and five other men.
In just a few minutes, though, the men had snatched about $2.6 million worth of Rolex watches, diamonds and jewelry, according to an inventory prepared by the McAllen Police Department. They also caused about $900,000 in damage to Deutsch & Deutsch.
All seven men who participated in the poorly planned heist pleaded guilty to five counts of aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony punishable by 5 years to life in prison.
Mejia, who brandished a BB gun during the robbery, will serve 15 years in prison. The judge also assessed a $2,500 fine and ordered Mejia to pay $10,000 in restitution.
Olvera, who smashed the glass display cases with a hammer, will serve 12 years in prison. The judge also assessed a $1,500 fine and ordered Olvera to pay $10,000 in restitution.
Attorneys for Mejia and Olvera didn’t respond to a request for comment.