Crime — 06 August 2013 — by Rochelle Gillett
Con artist Robert Popper, 40, jailed

Popper swindled money and a cell phone from two persons

Con artist Robert Popper, 40, a diver/fisherman of San Pedro, pleaded guilty to two counts of obtaining property by deception before Magistrate Dale Cayetano today.

According to police, on July 25, Popper visited Lashawn Waite and asked her to lend him some money in order for him to pay for a money transaction at his bank. Waite reported that Popper promised to repay her as soon as he got his money, and she therefore instructed her mother to get the money and give it to Popper.

Then, on August 2, Dayborne Alvarez was somehow convinced to hand over his Samsung Galaxy S3 cell phone, valued at $1,500, and $200 cash to Popper.

Alvarez reported that matter to police and Popper was detained, and it was during that time that Waite learned of his detention and visited the police station to make her report.

Popper, who has been before the court as many as 24 times for crimes of dishonesty, pleaded guilty to the offenses today. He told the court that “I just find myself di do it more than once. I want you to give me a time to rehabilitate. I need to get help. It’s been more than this, but this is only what people have reported. I need to go to jail.”

Popper came out of prison last April, but told the court that while he was in jail, he never got into the rehabilitation program that he so desperately needs. Instead, he was assigned to teach and counsel inmates in prison.

After Popper’s mitigation plea was heard, he was granted his wish of going to prison, and was sentenced to four years – three years for the theft of the cell phone and $200 from Alvarez; and for stealing the $200 cash from Waite, he was sentenced to one year.

However, the sentences are to run concurrently, so Popper will only spend three years in prison.

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