Benjamin Robert Laubbacher of Carlsbad pleaded guilty in federal court today, admitting that he committed six robberies of grocery stores and other businesses during a 15-day period in 2021, including several heists where he displayed a handgun.
In his plea agreement, Laubbacher admitted to robbing a CVS pharmacy, a Bath & Body Works and numerous grocery stores between January 22, 2021, and February 5, 2021. All the robberies were committed in a similar manner: He entered the store, selected items for purchase, approached the register and demanded money from the cashier. In certain robberies, Laubbacher displayed a black handgun in his waistband. Over the course of his six successful and one attempted robberies, Laubbacher obtained approximately $2,327.32.
“This defendant inflicted maximum terror on cashiers, who will suffer a lifetime of anguish over the memory of this experience,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “Now he will be held accountable.” Grossman thanked the prosecution team and the investigating agencies for their excellent work on this case.
“This defendant had little qualms of brandishing a gun to intimidate and cause fear in his victims during six different robberies to get what he wanted,” said Special Agent in Charge Stacey Moy of the FBI’s San Diego Field Office. “With today’s guilty plea, Laubbacher will no longer be a threat to anyone else in our community. The FBI is proud to have coordinated this investigation with our law enforcement partners, including the San Diego, Carlsbad and Irvine Police Departments and the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, as well as FBI Los Angeles Orange County Resident Agency, to stop this defendant from committing any more violent crimes and hold him accountable for his actions.”
This case is the result of the ongoing efforts of the Violent Crime and Human Trafficking (VCHT) Section. Formed in 2019, the VCHT is tasked with leading collaborations between federal and local law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of cases involving violent crimes, firearms and gang cases; sex trafficking and child exploitation; civil rights, and labor trafficking. The VCHT Section oversees the Southern District of California Coordinators for Project Safe Neighborhoods, Human Trafficking, and Project Safe Childhood. The VCHT Section also provides federal prosecutors to the downtown San Diego Violent Crimes Task Force-Gang Group, the North County Gang Task Force, and the East County Gang Task Force.
Laubbacher is scheduled to be sentenced on November 14, 2022 at 9:00 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Cynthia Bashant.
Benjamin Robert Laubbacher
Case Number 21-cr-2010-BAS
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
Hobbs Act Robbery and Attempted Hobbs Act Robbery – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 1951
Maximum penalty: Twenty years in prison and $250,000 fine
Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence (2 counts) – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 924(c)
Maximum Penalty: Life in prison and $250,000 fine
Minimum Penalty: Five years in prison per count, consecutive to all other sentences
Federal Bureau of Investigation
San Diego Police Department
San Diego Sheriff’s Department
Carlsbad Police Department
Irvine Police Department