Three plead no contest in 2 robberies of Cal Poly students

Three men charged with two separate strong-armed robberies of Cal Poly students in January entered no contest pleas to robbery and grand theft on Tuesday.

Steven Randy Medina, 23, of Arroyo Grande and Tulare residents Alejandro Ambriz, 23, and Moses Isaac Peralta, 22, are expected to spend a year in County Jail based on their pleas.

Battery charges against the men were dropped as part of the agreement reached between Deputy District Attorney Jesse Marino and the three lawyers representing the defendants in Judge Michael Duffy’s courtroom.

The effect of a no contest plea is similar to a guilty plea and results in a conviction without an admission of guilt. They are scheduled to be sentenced on April 27 in Duffy’s courtroom.

Police arrested the men in the early morning hours of Jan. 16 on suspicion of beating and robbing two Cal Poly students in separate incidents between 2 and 2:30 a.m. that day, according to a San Luis Obispo Police Department report.

Each of the men acknowledged in court to Duffy that they understood the consequences of their pleas and willingly agreed to comply.

None had a prior criminal record, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

On Jan. 16, University Police Department and San Luis Obispo officers responded to a report of a beating and robbery of a 21-year-old man near the campus Recreation Center, police said. The attackers reportedly drove away in a green Dodge pickup.

Ten minutes later, San Luis Obispo police and fire paramedics responded to a similar report of a strong-armed robbery near Longview Lane and Bond Street, south of campus.

Both victims’ wallets and phones were stolen, but they were recovered and returned, according to prosecutors.

The three suspects were discovered after a San Luis Obispo police officer caught them during an assault near Santa Rosa and Walnut streets, according to a Police Department report.

While investigating that incident, officers determined that the men were responsible for the two robberies at Cal Poly, police said.

Tribune staff writer Amy Dempsey contributed to this report.