The man believed to be responsible for a string of Los Altos robberies earlier this year has now been charged with an identical crime in neighboring Mountain View.
According to Cindy Hendrickson, Santa Clara County supervising deputy district attorney, 26-year-old Thomas Andrew Cronin was arraigned July 10 for the May 22 robbery of a Wells Fargo Bank branch at Cuesta Drive and Miramonte Avenue in Mountain View.
Los Altos police arrested Cronin seven days later, the same day he allegedly robbed the U.S. Bank at 1001 Fremont Ave. The additional Mountain View charge comes after Cronin’s May 31 arraignment for allegedly committing eight robberies in Los Altos, beginning in February. He is accused of twice targeting Standard Liquors on First Street and Co- merica Bank on Third Street.
Hendrickson said they were not able to charge Cronin for a second Mountain View robbery that occurred several days before the Wells Fargo incident – May 11 at China Café. The restaurant is located in the same shopping center as the bank.
“There just isn’t enough evidence at this point to be able to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt,” she said of the restaurant robbery.
The ninth robbery charge for the Wells Fargo heist, Hendrickson said, means Cronin now faces a maximum of 13 years in state prison. He would have to serve at least 85 percent of that sentence if convicted, according to Hendrickson.
She added that Cronin – who remains jailed in lieu of $800,000 bail – would not be eligible to serve time in county jail as part of the state’s prison realignment efforts. Hendrickson noted that Cronin could possibly receive a lesser sentence if he chooses to settle his case without a trial.
“Generally, a defendant who resolves the case before trial usually serves less than the maximum sentence,” she said.
Suspect doctors fake gun
Hendrickson told the Town Crier that a search of Cronin’s home turned up an Airsoft BB gun that police and prosecutors believe he used in some of the robberies. She said that while Airsoft guns typically include a red tip to differ from actual guns, Cronin went to extra lengths to ensure that his nonlethal gun looked like a Glock pistol.
“It had the red tip colored (black) so that it looked like a real gun,” said Hendrickson, who has prosecuted cases involving robbery suspects using BB guns. “Everyone who saw it thought it was a real gun.”
But Hendrickson said Cronin would not face an enhanced weapons charge, which carries an additional 10-year sentence under California law, because he used a nonlethal weapon to commit the crimes.
Hendrickson added that the case remains in the discovery phase – which includes the introduction and exchange of evidence between sides – and that Cronin likely won’t enter a plea “for some time.” His next court appearance is scheduled Aug. 7.