A 31-year-old Modesto man has been sentenced to four years in prison for stealing from Home Depot stores in Stanislaus County this past summer.
Authorities say Corey Wayne Smith is suspected of committing other thefts at Home Depot stores. But he pleaded no contest to only two counts of robbery in connection with thefts at Home Depot stores in Riverbank and Ceres, according to a news release from the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office.
After Smith entered his no-contest plea Tuesday, Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Thomas Zeff sentenced Smith to four years in prison.
Smith’s conviction was the result of a plea deal with prosecutors. Along with the robbery charges, Smith admitted to using a deadly weapon in both thefts.
Prosecutors said the robbery charges are considered violent felonies, so Smith must serve 85 percent of his sentence before he can become eligible for parole. Deputy District Attorney Patrick Hogan prosecuted Smith.
One of the robbery charges stemmed from a July 29 theft at the Home Depot store on East Hatch Road in Ceres. Prosecutors said Smith stole more than $2,700 worth of merchandise.
Smith was confronted by a loss-prevention officer at the Ceres store, who recognized him from previous thefts at that same store, according to prosecutors. They said Smith swung an ax at the store employee to evade capture and got away with the stolen merchandise.
The other robbery charge stemmed from a Sept. 18 theft at the Home Depot Store near Claribel and Oakdale roads in Riverbank.
Prosecutors said a store employee tried to stop Smith from leaving the store with stolen merchandise, but Smith brandished a knife and threatened the employee. Smith then ran away with the stolen goods.
Stanislaus County sheriff’s deputies responded to the reported theft in Riverbank, found Smith and arrested him. Prosecutors said Smith was found in his vehicle, along with stolen items from Home Depot stores worth several thousand dollars.
The other crimes Smith is suspected of committing, according to prosecutors, included a theft at the Home Depot store near West Monte Vista Avenue in Turlock and a July theft at the same Riverbank Home Depot store he robbed in September.