Man sentenced to 20-year prison term for four Auburn-area armed hold-ups

Lukas Lambeth?s attorney offers apologies on behalf of him at sentencing
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - Four gunpoint robberies ? three in the Auburn area and one in Weimar ? have cost their 22-year-old perpetrator his freedom for at least the next 16 years. Lukas Lambeth was sentenced Monday to 20 years, four months in state prison and will be required to serve 85 percent of that time behind bars because of the violent nature of his crimes. In sentencing Lambeth, who showed little emotion, Placer County Superior Court Judge Colleen Nichols said that each of the victims in the robberies had a gun pointed at their heads. Nichols said that while Lambeth has shown remorse, apologized to his victims and cooperated by pleading no contest to all counts connected with the robberies, the presence of a gun and the decision to point it were ?game changers.? ?That takes it to another level,? Nichols said. With several members of Lambeth?s family in the courtroom, Nichols asked them to understand the crimes from the perspective of victims. ?Understand the absolute fear put into the minds of victims as they had a gun pointed at their heads,? Nichols said. Nichols said that the four robbery charges and the use of a weapon allegation had an upper term of 34 years. Placer County Deputy District Attorney Lisa Botwinik called for the agreed-upon ceiling of 22 years, eight months. Jonathan Richter, chief defense attorney with the county Public Defender, recommended a sentence of approximately 18 years. Richter said no one was physically injured in the robberies and there was no indication in the probation report that victims had suffered psychologically. ?The ones most psychologically harmed are his family,? Richter said. ?They?re confused about how this happened to a promising young man.? Richter said that the probation report indicated the robberies took place during a brief period of aberrant behavior by Lambeth acerbated by drug abuse, financial stress and a breakup with a girlfriend. The robberies took place from December 2010 to last August, when Lambeth was arrested in Auburn for a gunpoint robbery of a Cool man who had stopped to use the Ashford Park restroom. Auburn Police detectives linked Lambeth to other robberies after checking security video footage. On Dec. 20, 2010, he robbed the Weimar Country Store on Paoli Lane. Lambeth bound the wrists of both employees before fleeing in a pickup. His take was $110, according to court records. Five days later, Lambeth robbed the 7-Eleven on Fairgate Drive in Auburn, again binding the clerk?s hands. He left with $200. Lambeth?s next solo stickup came Jan. 11, 2011, when he robbed the Chevron station on Lincoln Way in Auburn. He donned a cap to cover his shoulder length reddish-blond hair and again pulled out a weapon he had used in the other crimes ? a silver Ruger. The store had not provided investigators with an estimate on its losses. The crime spree ended Aug. 29, after the robbery at Ashford Park. When Lambeth?s truck was searched, investigators found stolen loot from that day?s stick-up and the loaded Ruger. The total stolen cash from the August crime was $544.96. Richter said Lambeth wasn?t a good public speaker so had asked him to offer his apologies in court to his victims on Monday. Lambeth?s once-shoulder-length reddish locks ? hair that was noticeable in security footage ? had been replaced with a brush cut. Lambeth?s only words were ?Thank you, your honor, I appreciate that,? after Nichols had suggested that he could hold his head up for apologizing to his victims and cooperated with authorities after ?doing something horrible.? Under terms of the sentence, Lambeth will remain in prison for at least the next 16 years. He was given credit for time served in the Placer County Jail amounting to just short of a year.