The crime spree ends with self-inflicted shooting, 26-year sentence for Phoenix man

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Phoenix resident Samuel Sven Smith, 28, faced justice as he was sentenced to 312 months in federal prison by United States District Judge Jesus G. Bernal. The sentencing also included a restitution order of $8,873.

Smith’s criminal journey, spanning from July 31, 2022, until his arrest on August 20, 2022, left a trail of armed robberies across Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernardino counties, as well as in Arizona. The 28-year-old pleaded guilty to two counts of interference with commerce by robbery (Hobbs Act) and two counts of brandishing and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence in May 2023.

The crime spree included the robbery of various stores, such as Big Lots in Riverside and PetSmart locations in Signal Hill, Orange, San Bernardino, Fontana, Pico Rivera, Redlands, Phoenix, and Rancho Cucamonga. During each of these robberies, Smith menacingly brandished a firearm to control store employees.

United States Attorney Martin Estrada expressed deep concern over Smith’s complete disregard for the safety of others during this spree. “We cannot accept such blatant violence on our streets, and my office is committed to doing all it can to protect the people of our district,” he stated.

The climax of Smith’s criminal rampage occurred after he robbed the Rancho Cucamonga PetSmart on August 20, 2022, making off with $400. Law enforcement, including federal officers, confronted him outside the store, prompting Smith to open fire at the officers before speeding away.

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A high-speed chase ensued, marked by Smith firing his gun multiple times at pursuing officers. The chase concluded when law enforcement strategically rammed into Smith’s vehicle. Court documents reveal that upon approaching the vehicle, law enforcement discovered Smith had sustained a gunshot wound underneath his chin. Smith claimed that the self-inflicted injury occurred accidentally during the collision.

Christopher Bombardiere, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Los Angeles Field Division, highlighted the dedicated efforts of law enforcement in addressing such violent criminals. “We work with our law enforcement partners to put these offenders in prison to stop their terrorizing of our communities,” he stated, commending the ATF Orange County Violent Crime Task Force for their daily efforts.

The ATF Orange County Violent Crime Task Force, comprised of investigators from ATF, Brea Police Department, Fullerton Police Department, Santa Ana Police Department, and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, played a pivotal role in the investigation. Assistance was provided by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

Assistant United States Attorney Kevin J. Butler of the Violent and Organized Crime Section prosecuted the case, emphasizing the commitment to ensuring justice for the communities affected by Smith’s violent crime spree.

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