A Fresno man was sentenced Monday to 30 years in federal prison for a string of armed robberies in Fresno, Clovis and Madera during a one-month crime spree in the fall of 2012.
A shackled Rozelle Summerise, 40, said little at his hearing in U.S. District Court, other than to request that he be sent to a federal penitentiary in Kentucky or South Carolina.
The Fresno Police Department once considered Summerise one of the most dangerous criminals in town.
“Removing Summerise from society before he killed one of his robbery victims was a top priority for our agency and could not have been done without the incredible teamwork of local law enforcement, ATF and the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” Chief Jerry Dyer said. Summerise was sentenced in Judge Anthony Ishii’s courtroom.
Never miss a local story.
According to court documents, during a one-month period in the fall of 2012, Summerise committed nine armed robberies of such places as Kmart in Clovis, Check ’n Go in Madera, and these Fresno businesses: CVS, Check ’n Go (twice), Foods Co., Crossland Economy Motel, Arco minimart and Motel 6.
Summerise’s arrest in November 2012 was the result of an investigation by the Fresno Police Department and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant U.S. attorneys Kimberly A. Sanchez and Melanie Alsworth prosecuted Summerise.
A search of Summerise’s residence uncovered several items used in the robberies, including a revolver and a wig. At the time of the arrest, Dyer said Summerise used a nylon mask to disguise himself during some robberies and a wig, cap and glasses in others.
Removing Summerise from society before he killed one of his robbery victims was a top priority for our agency.
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer
Dyer also described Summerise as the ringleader of a crew that also robbed a Nordstrom department store in Sacramento, a Bay Area Louis Vuitton store and a Burberry Factory Outlet in Vacaville.
Detectives caught a break when Summerise robbed a Check ’n Go on Oct. 30 on the 3200 block of West Shields Avenue, and a district manager recognized him as the same bandit who hit a store in Madera the day before, Dyer said.
In a plea agreement, Summerise pleaded guilty to nine robberies because if he had been convicted at trial he would have faced 82 years in prison, said Fresno attorney Anthony Capozzi, who represented Summerise.
In announcing the punishment, Ishii said Summerise’s criminal activity began as a juvenile. As an adult, he engaged in serious criminal activity that could have resulted in the death of innocent victims, Ishii told him.
As part of a plea agreement, Summerise’s federal prison sentence will run concurrent with a 17-year state prison sentence he received in Fresno County Superior Court for two burglaries in October 2011, the judge said. But Summerise also must not associate with the Crips criminal street gang, Ishii said.