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Minneota man gets 46 months for bizarre convenience store robbery in July

WILLMAR -- Juan Reynaldo Ochoa, 26, of Minneota, was sentenced Tuesday to 46 months in jail for the July knifepoint robbery of a Willmar convenience store.

WILLMAR -- Juan Reynaldo Ochoa, 26, of Minneota, was sentenced Tuesday to 46 months in jail for the July knifepoint robbery of a Willmar convenience store.

In Kandiyohi County District Court, Ochoa was also sentenced to 18 months in jail on a felony fifth-degree assault charge for a fight with another prisoner in the Kandiyohi County Jail. Judge Donald M. Spilseth ordered the sentences to be served concurrently, or at the same time. Ochoa was given credit for 197 days already served in jail.

Ochoa pleaded guilty Dec. 11 to an amended charge of simple robbery, which was reduced from a second-degree as-sault with a dangerous weapon for robbing the Lakeview Quickmart, which is along Business 71 in Willmar. Two additional charges for aggravated robbery and assault, plus a misdemeanor theft charge, were dismissed in a plea agreement. The charges were filed after Ochoa was arrested July 3 in a nearby apartment complex. According to the complaint, Ochoa made four trips into the Lakeview Quickmart convenience store before the robbery. The owners of the store told police he and a woman entered the store around 8 a.m., selected some items and then Ochoa went back "to the house" to get money to pay for the items. The second time, he paid for a package of cigarette papers in $1.79 in pennies and counted them at the counter. He didn't buy anything on his third or fourth trip into the store, the owners told police. On the fifth time, he pulled a knife on the woman at the cash register and told her to back away while taking cash and credit card receipts from the register. He fled on a bicycle.

Police officers followed the bicycle tracks and a tip from a nearby business employee and located Ochoa at an apartment building along the 1000 block of 16th Street Northeast. He was found with $70 in cash lying around him and told officers he got the money from his credit card, but then refused to give more information about which card or from which bank he got the money.

Ochoa was also sentenced to 90 days in jail, a $50 fine and $172.50 in restitution on a misdemeanor criminal damage to property charge for an October incident in the county jail. In return for the plea to that charge, another misdemeanor for tampering with a fire alarm was dismissed.

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