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Chilling in prison Neal Putnam | Sat, Apr 13 2013 12:00 PM

The “Be Cool Bandit” from National City— who urged his victims to “be cool” while he was robbing them— was sentenced April 5 to 19 years and eight months in state prison and ordered to pay $1,624 to victims.

Additionally, Elvin Vincent Foster, Jr., 45, was ordered to pay $1,634 in fines by San Diego Superior Court Judge Charles Gill, who could have sentenced him to a maximum 28-year term. He received credit for 295 days in jail since his July 23, 2012, arrest by National City Police.

Foster admitted to a National City detective he “always used that term” in conversations, hence his nickname.

Foster’s attorney, Jeff Martin, said Foster was illiterate and was “seriously mentally ill almost all of his life.” He said Foster abused drugs, and added he used a BB gun in all of the hold-ups in which no one was injured.

Deputy District Attorney Jim Koerber said the victims were frightened and believed the gun was real. He urged a 21-year sentence.

“My son is not a bad person, but he has done some wrong things,” said Barbara Foster, who urged the judge to “give him a light sentence.”

Foster pleaded guilty Feb. 15 to all the charges. He also admitted to stealing $45 from a woman’s wallet at the Sycuan Casino in a separate case that was filed before the “Be Cool Bandit” series started on May 3, 2012.

The break came when Foster’s fingerprints were lifted from one of the robberies. His prints were on file due to convictions for robbery and attempted robbery, according to court records.

A search warrant was served at his residence in the 1500 block of Euclid Avenue in National City and items were seized as evidence.

An 18th Street 7-Eleven store in National City was held up on June 4 and July 23, and another 7-Eleven on Euclid Avenue was hit on June 3. An Arco station on Highland Avenue was robbed on May 20. One 7-Eleven in El Cajon was robbed, and five others were in San Diego.

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