Man sentenced to jail in attempted robbery downtown

Benjamin Garcia Jr. was ordered to serve several months in jail for the crime.

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WALLA WALLA -- A man was sentenced Monday afternoon in Superior Court to nearly four months in the County Jail for demanding medications from The Medicine Shoppe downtown in August.

Benjamin Garcia Jr., 33, of 719 N. Eighth Ave., was ordered to serve 33/4 months for the crime of second-degree attempted robbery.

The jail term is near the midpoint of the standard-range sentence of 21/4 to 63/4 months Garcia faced. In handing down the sentence, Judge John Lohrmann went along with a prosecution recommendation.

Lohrmann gave Garcia credit for the 67 days he'd already served and placed him on a year of community custody, a form of probation, after he's released.

Garcia's attorney, Gail Siemers, told Lohrmann before the sentence was imposed that Garcia committed the crime because he was seeking medication. "If he had not been recently injured and had some prescriptions that had run out, he wouldn't have been anywhere near this pharmacy," Siemers said.

She asked that the balance of Garcia's sentence be served on house arrest, but Lohrmann rejected the request.

"It was a brazen act," Lohrmann said. "It was also a very frightening act for all the individuals involved."

Garcia pleaded guilty Oct. 17.

Police said he entered the pharmacy at 25 S. Colville St. about 12:30 p.m. Aug. 25, and said in a forceful voice to give him all the methadone and Xanax they had.

None was handed over and Garcia left after an employee pushed the panic button, according to a police report. He was followed toward the back parking lot of Macy's by a witness across the street who saw him get into a Honda Accord and head west on Alder Street.

The witness provided the license plate number to emergency dispatchers and police located Garcia at his residence.

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