East Bay man gets federal prison for store robbery spree

OAKLAND — A federal judge sentenced an East Bay man to three years in federal prison for a store robbery that netted him a whopping $37, court records show.

Elijah Crowder, 20, was sentenced earlier this month, after admitting to being the getaway driver in the October 2018 robbery of a Metro PCS store. He was indicted on federal conspiracy and robbery charges the following month, along with Marty S. Guillen, court records show.

Crowder and Guillen were also suspects in a series of other store robberies in the East Bay, some targeting cell phone stores, others targeting jewelry stores. The case against Guillen is still ongoing.

In a March plea deal, Crowder admitted only to participation in the $37 store robbery, which led to his and Guillen’s arrest. According to prosecutors, Guillen entered the Metro PCS store in Castro Valley, pulled out what authorities later determined was a BB gun, and demanded money.

Employees gave Guillen $74. He ran out of the store, hopped in a Toyota pickup truck where Crowder was waiting, and the two sped off. They split the money 50-50, prosecutors said.

A prosecution sentencing memo said the evidence the two were involved in other robberies included text messages, cell phone ping locations, and a description of the Toyota, which was seen at multiple robberies.

Crowder’s attorney, Mark Goldrosen, wrote in a sentencing memo that Crowder had a traumatic childhood and had played a minor role in the robbery.

“Mr. Crowder was only 19 years old at the time he committed the robbery,” Goldrosen wrote. “Scientific studies demonstrate that a teenager’s brain is not fully developed until he reaches his mid-twenties. His ability to curb impulses, resist external pressures, and consider consequences were still in the process of being formed.”

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