Credit: County of San Luis Obispo | Courtesy

San Luis Obispo resident Dennis Chapman Wheeler will serve five years in state prison for robbing Smart and Final on Johnson Avenue.

On May 28, 2018, Wheeler took more than $150 of tri-tip steak and attempted to escape the store without paying through an emergency exit, according to a County of San Luis Obispo news release.

A Smart & Final employee saw Wheeler flee and chased him outside to try to recover the steaks. Once outside, Wheeler threatened the employee with a knife, according to the news release. The Smart & Final employee backed away and Wheeler escaped on a bicycle.

Wheeler was spotted by San Luis Obispo Police who had prior contact with him less than two miles from Smart & Final. He was arrested two and a half hours after the robbery, the release read.

In November, a jury found Wheeler guilty of second-degree robbery with an added enhancement of use of a deadly weapon. Wheeler could have been sentenced to a maximum sentence of 8 years in prison because of his prior convictions and use of a deadly weapon.

Wheeler, who is 30 years old, has served time on two prior occasions.

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