Phoenix man sentenced to 26 years in prison for robbery spree

Jan 24, 2024, 8:00 AM

Man puts gun on table....

Samuel Smith was sentenced to 26 years in prison for a string of armed robberies in Arizona and California in 2022. (Pexels Photo)

(Pexels Photo)

PHOENIX — A Phoenix man was sentenced on Monday to 26 years in prison for a string of armed robberies he committed in Arizona and California in 2022, authorities said.

Samuel Sven Smith, 28, was sentenced to 312 months in prison, coupled with a restitution order of $8,873, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California said.

He was arrested after a high-speed chase in August 2022 and pleaded guilty in May 2023 to two counts of interference with commerce by robbery and two counts of brandishing and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence.

Armed robber’s 3-week reign of terror in Arizona and California

Prosecutors said from July 31, 2022, until Aug. 20, 2022, Smith committed nine armed robberies in Maricopa, Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties, specifically at one Big Lots store and a handful of PetSmart stores.

“Smith showed complete disregard for the safety of others when he went on his crime spree, threatening store employees with firearms and then opening fire on federal agents,” U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada said in a press release.

“We cannot accept such blatant violence on our streets and my office is committed to doing all it can to protect the people of our district.”

Here’s how the armed Phoenix robber got caught

Authorities finally caught up with Smith on Aug. 20, 20022, as he exited a PetSmart in Rancho Cucamonga, California, with $400 he had just stolen. Smith then opened fire at them, prosecutors said.

Smith subsequently jumped into his vehicle and led federal officers on a high-speed chase that ended after law enforcement rammed into his vehicle.

When officers approached Smith’s car, they determined he sustained a gunshot wound underneath his chin. Smith told law enforcement who were giving him medical attention that when they rammed into his vehicle, he accidently shot himself, prosecutors said.

“This is the type of vicious career criminal that ATF’s task force in Orange County targets daily,” special agent in charge Christopher Bombardiere of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Los Angeles Field Division said in the release.

“We work with our law enforcement partners to put these offenders in prison to stop their terrorizing of our communities.”

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Phoenix man sentenced to 26 years in prison for robbery spree