Judge hears testimony about string of burglaries, coffee shop robbery

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

Carson City District Attorney Neil Rombardo presented several witnesses Friday during a preliminary hearing to determine whether a 20-year-old man should stand trial on charges he held up a coffee shop at gunpoint and burglarized several Carson City businesses in January.

The criminal complaint against Jermaine Charles Hoffman, 20, was amended Wednesday from 47 to 41 counts, dropping five charges relating to manufacturing silencers and one of burglarizing Fritsch Elementary School.

In addition, Pro-tem Judge Thomas Armstrong on Friday dropped a charge involving burglarizing Lifestream Natural Food Store because the amount of the loss was not more than $250.

Carson City Deputy Salvador Acosta testified that at about 8 p.m. on Feb. 11, he was on Carson Street watching for speeders when a white Cadillac with several occupants pulled up.

Acosta said he noticed the car had no license plates on the front or back so he followed the vehicle to 10th Street.

"I saw the car stop, and the front right passenger jumped out and ran north on Curry," Acosta said.

After talking to the driver, who gave his name as Jermaine Hoffman, Acosta smelled alcohol. A quick check showed that Hoffman was on probation and not allowed to drink.

After the occupants of the car were seated on the curb with another officer, Acosta said he asked for and received permission to search the vehicle.

In the trunk, he said, he found a blue sports gear bag containing six handguns, bolt cutters, what might have been homemade silencers, a plastic face mask, pantyhose face mask, ski mask, binoculars, a Dremel tool and charger, glass cutter, crowbars, flashlight, hammer with glass fragments, gloves, duct tape, and several other items.

Hoffman, in waist restraints and shackled, sat motionless throughout the hearing, staring at the stand, only occasionally writing notes.

The complaint alleges that between Jan. 21 and Jan. 27, Hoffman burglarized Kragen Auto Parts, Carson Tahoe Jewelry and True Value Hardware, where he allegedly made off with 19 guns.

Hoffman is accused of using one of the stolen weapons to hold up the Carson Coffee shop on Jan. 30, according to police records.

He allegedly fired twice at owner Curt Spradley before fleeing. Spradley suffered only an abrasion on his foot from a ricocheting bullet.

Some of the guns were later found at Hoffman's home along with a stolen laptop.

The hearing is set to continue Monday at 9:30 a.m. in Carson City Justice Court.


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