San Jose Cake Shop Patrons Robbed at Gunpoint (CA Penal Code 211)

If recent Bay area crime history is taken into account, it seems that robberies in places like cake shops and bakeries are becoming less and less unusual.  At the end of last month, for example, the Nothing Bundt Cakes shop in San Jose found its patrons being robbed at gunpoint by an as yet unidentified man.  Although local law enforcement agents are working hard to identify the man through video surveillance footage, and by sending the still shots of the robber to media outlets, they have yet to close the case.  The alleged robber seems to have simply walked into the bakery, pulled out a handgun, and emptied the wallets of terrified customers.

Briefly, it is useful to note that California law makes a clear distinction between two terms that we normally consider being synonyms ‘burglary’ and ‘robbery.’  In the case above, the crime that was allegedly committed was ‘robbery,’ as it involved taking individual persons’ property from their immediate presence with the use of force or fear (CA Penal Code 211).

Penalties for California robbery convictions are quite harsh.  First, the crime of robbery is always considered a felony.  Of course, there are two types of robbery: first-degree and second-degree.  First-degree robbery, occurring in an inhabited building, on public transport, or near an ATM, could mean up to 9 years in a California state prison.  A second-degree robbery conviction, however, which refers to any other type of robbery, may mean facing up to only 5 years in state prison.