MARTINEZ -- Three Antioch teens took plea deals Thursday in connection with a 2011 armed robbery spree in which 15 Contra Costa County businesses were hit, sometimes several in a single night.
The robbers -- five in all -- were dubbed the "Masked Bandits" by investigators because they wore Halloween masks depicting Hillary Rodham Clinton, a skeleton, a hockey player and a gorilla during the robberies that spanned between Sept. 12 and Nov. 2, 2011. The victimized businesses were gas stations, convenience stores and a supermarket in Antioch, Concord, Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek and Brentwood.
The ¿suspects were Armond Booth, Jereme Lavergne, Terrance Wheeler, Jermone Wade and Phillip Reed. All of them were under 18 at the time of their arrests and are being prosecuted as adults.
Wade, Reed and Wheeler on Thursday pleaded no contest to various second-degree robbery charges and scheduled their sentencing hearings for Feb. 13.
Under their respective plea deals, Wheeler, 17, will be sentenced to 17 years and four months in state prison; Wade, 18, will be sentenced to eight years and eight months; and Reed, 18, will be sentenced to six years.
Booth and Lavergne, both 18, rejected their plea offers. They return to court Jan. 9 to schedule their trials.
The defendants are not accused of committing every robbery, but each defendant is being prosecuted for all robberies that occurred after the first one they personally participated in under a conspiracy theory, deputy district attorney Jill Henderson said.
All of them carried out the robbery of a Walnut Creek Valero station on Sept. 28, 2011 during which Booth shot at a customer at the pumps, Henderson said. Booth also is accused of firing two rounds into the ceiling of an Antioch FoodMaxx during another robbery that same night.
Contact Malaika Fraley at 925-234-1684. Follow her at Twitter.com/malaikafraley.