Man involved in armed robberies sentenced to prison

August 26, 2010 4:20:38 PM PDT
A member of an Oakland-based armed robbery crew has been sentenced in federal court in Oakland to 13 years and three months in prison.

San Kwen Saephan, 29, was given the federal prison term by U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken on Wednesday.

Prosecutors said Saephen was part of a small group that committed three armed robberies at a massage parlor in San Rafael, a massage parlor in El Cerrito and a karaoke bar in Hayward over a nine-day period between Dec. 30, 2007, and Jan. 8, 2008.

Two other members of the group brandished guns and Saephan held a fake gun while threatening victims at the three businesses, according to prosecutors. Some of the victims were tied up and one woman's collarbone was broken when Saephan and another man ripped her purse off her shoulder, prosecutors said.

Saephan pleaded guilty before Wilken in December to one count of conspiracy, two counts of interfering with commerce through robbery, and one count of brandishing a firearm during a violent crime.

He admitted in the plea agreement to carrying out the El Cerrito and Hayward armed robberies as well as an additional home invasion robbery in Oakland on Jan. 11, 2008.

Saephan was convicted of the Oakland robbery in Alameda County Superior Court and was sentenced to three years in state prison. He will begin serving his federal sentence when he completes the state sentence.

Defense attorney Gail Shifman said in a sentencing brief that Saephan has been a methamphetamine addict since the age of 12 and "acted while under the grip of his addiction."

Prosecutors said in a brief that Saephan was "an extremely dangerous criminal who shows no respect for human life and who relishes putting the fear of death in his victims."

Two other defendants who pleaded guilty have been sentenced to 22 years and eight months and to 15 years in prison, according to U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag.


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