An Ocean Park, Washington, teenager was sentenced Wednesday to more than 4 1/2 years in prison after admitting to robbing a Sahara Pizza delivery driver in June.
Christopher Joe Reimers, 17, pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery after reaching a deal with the Clatsop County District Attorney’s Office. He originally also faced charges of first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, second-degree theft and strangulation.
Reimers and Hart Holden Stone, 20, of Astoria, ordered a pizza to an Emerald Heights home where one of them used to reside. When the driver approached the door, Reimers placed him in a chokehold while Stone grabbed a cash bag and fled.
Astoria police arrested Stone shortly after, but Reimers escaped after toiling through blackberry bushes, Chief Deputy District Attorney Ron Brown said. Authorities located him a few days later.
Stone pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery last week and was also sentenced to 4 1/2 years. He will serve the prison time concurrently with a separate case in which he admitted to burglarizing the Astoria Coffeehouse & Bistro a few days before the pizza robbery.
During Reimers’ sentencing, Circuit Court Judge Paula Brownhill chided him for not fully articulating what crimes led to his guilty plea after she had asked. He also denied having contact with Stone.
“You’re 17 years old, you just pled guilty to a robbery and you have nothing to say?” Brownhill asked. “I’m not encouraged about your chances for success when you’ve started off on the wrong foot here.”
Reimers’ criminal history includes convictions for disorderly conduct, theft, menacing and assault. He has been lodged in a Cowlitz County, Washington, jail, where he has accrued several behavioral violations.
James Lee von Boeckmann, Reimers’ court-appointed attorney, said he and a defense investigator recently had a heart-to-heart conversation. After the conversation, Reimers apologized individually to employees at the jail. Reimers also cited a troubled upbringing after Brownhill prodded him for a response.
“You need to understand you can change that. Just because you didn’t have the best upbringing doesn’t mean you have to be a criminal,” Brownhill said. “You’re getting special treatment because you’re young and we all have hope that you can improve yourself and contribute to society.”