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Arvada Thong Bandit Robber Sentenced to Prison

One of the two men dubbed the “Thong Bandits” was in court today to be sentenced.  Joaquin Rico, 20, of Lakewood, was sentenced to 12 years in prison. 

Rico and co-defendant Joseph Richard Espinoza, 25, robbed the clerk at a Diamond Shamrock store at 68th and Wadsworth in Arvada wearing brightly colored thong underwear over their faces as masks. 

Just after 5 a.m. on May 15, 2008 Rico and Espinoza threw a large rock through a window at the Diamond Shamrock and climbed inside.

The 35-year-old morning clerk had just opened the store for the day.  Rico began yelling at her. He grabbed her by the neck and hit her in the face numerous times, fracturing her jaw. He forced her to open both cash registers and took the money. 

While Rico was moving the clerk from one cash register to another, Espinoza was taking cigarettes from the display.  The robbery netted the duo a total of $100 and 37 packs of cigarettes.

Rico pled guilty to Second Degree Kidnapping, a class two felony, on January 16, 2009. 

Joseph Espinoza, of Lakewood, pled guilty on August 11, 2008 to Robbery, a class four felony. He is scheduled to be sentenced on February 23, 2009.