Two robbers sent to prison

Two Carson City people, one a homeless man who held up a video store, and another who wrestled money away from a woman at an ATM machine, were both sentenced to prison this week.

Samuel Leasia, 63, pleaded guilty to burglary and attempted robbery in a March 2007 incident at Hollywood Video. He was sentenced to 32 to 144 months in prison.

Ralph Solano, 26, pleaded guilty to robbery at a Bank of America ATM machine on William Street in January. He was sentenced to 36 to 120 months in prison.

According to court records, Leasia entered the video store on South Carson Street about 11 p.m., and once the employees locked the store, Leasia pointed a gun at them and demanded money. One of the employees took the bag to the office on the pretext that she would get the money, and while Leasia and another employee stayed in the front, she locked the office door and called police.

When police arrived, Leasia was standing inside the locked business with the bag of money in his hand. Officers discovered the weapon was BB gun. Leasia and his cat had been living in Leasia's car, which was parked outside of the business when police arrested him.

Leasia has previous convictions for robbery and theft.

"This man is a repeat offender who victimized two hard-working citizens of Carson City. When habitual criminals choose to come here and commit dangerous, violent crimes, they can be assured that they will go to prison for many years," District Attorney Neil Rombardo said in a news release.

According to court records in the Solano case, on Jan. 11 a corrections employee withdrew $200 from the ATM machine at about 4:15 p.m. when Solano approached her from behind and tried to grab her wallet and money. After a brief struggle with the victim, Solano was able to wrestle the items free and fled.

Several witnesses gave chase, but were unable to catch him.

Fresh footprints in the snow led Carson City sheriff's deputies to a fenced-in commercial lot near Corbett Street, where Solano was found hiding under a vehicle.

The robbery was captured by the ATM's surveillance camera.

"This defendant committed a brazen, day-time robbery and has earned his lengthy prison term," said Rombardo. "Violent criminals are on notice. If you choose to prey on members of our community, you will be prosecuted and you will go to prison."

• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at or 881-1213.


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