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GameStop armed robber sentenced to 10 years in prison

The man stole $131,000 in merchandise from California GameStop stores

line of customers in front of a GameStop store Photo: Richard Levine/Corbis/Getty Images
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

A 28-year-old California man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for an armed robbery spree of GameStop stores in California, according to a press release today from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Frederick Lopez Jr. was charged with armed robberies of four separate GameStop stores in Los Angeles and Orange counties. Lopez used a gun to take $132,300 of merchandise and cash from the stores. He pleaded guilty in August 2019 before being sentenced on Jan. 27. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in California said Lopez entered the four stores at night — sometimes with another person — and threatened employees with a gun before ordering them to “load game consoles and video games into store bags.”

During the West Covina, California, robbery in October 2018, Lopez took employee cellphones and destroyed the store’s phone. He also ordered an employee to help load stolen goods into his minivan, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Lopez took $131,000 in merchandise — consoles and games — and $1,300 in cash during the four robberies. He’s been ordered to pay this amount in restitution. The U.S. Attorney’s Office did not provide a list of items stolen. Given the high total of merchandise stolen, Lopez likely took a lot of stuff; he would have had to have stolen hundreds of consoles to total more than $130,000.

Nintendo of America gave police a list of consoles stolen during the robberies. Police were able to identify one person who reportedly purchased a console from Lopez, according to a search warrant filed in a California court.

“The serious nature of [Lopez’s] offenses can hardly be overstated,” prosecutors said. “Armed robberies such as these, where firearms are brandished at victims, also leave lasting substantial stress and trauma that victims remember for years, some for their entire lives.”

Times are tough for GameStop. The company closed as many as 200 stores in 2019, and posted abysmal numbers over the holiday season — sales were down 25%. GameStop executives are banking on new console season, with the release of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, to revive the company’s results in 2020.