Two men who wore Halloween masks and robbed a 7-Eleven store of $45 and another convenience store of $3,600 at gunpoint received a seven- and eight-year sentence in prison on Monday, the San Mateo County District Attorney's office said. The men are allegedly tied to a third robbery at a Palo Alto 7-Eleven, according to the DA.
Joshua Faoa, 25, and Joachim Piliote Maka, 24, of East Palo Alto, pleaded no contest to a charge of felony robbery, which involved using a shotgun and a pistol and threatening to shoot a store clerk in one incident and firing a shotgun into a store refrigerator in another, according to the DA.
On Oct. 17, 2013, Maka, wearing a wolf mask, and Faoa, wearing a skeleton mask, entered the Rollins Road 7-Eleven in Burlingame and demanded money from the clerk at gunpoint. The men, who were roommates, fled with $45.
Three days later on Oct. 20, wearing the same clothing and masks, they robbed the Oakwood Market on East Bayshore Road in East Palo Alto. Maka fired his shotgun into a store refrigerator and the pair left with $3,600, the DA's office said.
In January 2014, the men were caught burglarizing a Redwood City 7-Eleven. Police discovered the masks and clothing used in the robberies and shotgun shells during a search of their Capitol Avenue apartment in East Palo Alto.
Faoa's DNA was found inside his mask. Analysis of their cellphones found Google searches for the areas where the robberies occurred.
Maka and Faoa each pleaded no contest to a count of felony robbery and admitted to a firearms enhancement and special allegations related to committing a violent felony under the three-strikes law. Acting Criminal Presiding Judge Lisa Novak sentenced Faoa to seven years in state prison and Maka to eight years.
Faoa received 512 days and Maka received 656 days credit for time served. The court ordered restitution for the $45 to the victim and other fines. They are each being held on $1 million bail.
Both men were also tied to a similar robbery at a Palo Alto 7-Eleven on Oct. 13, 2013. They face robbery charges in Santa Clara County. A third person, Apolosio Piutou Tupa, was also arrested in that case.