A man accused of involvement in more than a dozen armed holdups at restaurants and other businesses in Clairemont and La Jolla pleaded guilty Thursday to a single robbery charge.
Thomas Abel Nelson, 23, will be sentenced March 25.
Two co-defendants, Ryan Patrick Churchill, 23, and Duran Montiq Caldwell, 24, each face multiple counts of robbery and a conspiracy charge in connection with the "Backdoor Bandits" armed robbery series that occurred from May to August of last year. Their preliminary hearing was rescheduled to Feb. 26.
The defendants, along with a teenage boy who was being prosecuted separately, were arrested in August during a traffic stop not far from the scene of an armed robbery at a Smashburger restaurant on Prospect Avenue in La Jolla.
San Diego police said that inside the defendants' car, officers found dark clothing, a black Airsoft semi-automatic replica handgun, a black backpack filled with cash and a cashbox from Smashburger.
The "Backdoor Bandits" moniker stems from the way the thieves in the robbery series almost always entered businesses through a rear door.
—City News Service