A man and woman who robbed a Rancho Mirage Home Depot and threatened a store employee as they made off with goods pleaded guilty to the robbery Thursday, with the man immediately sentenced to two years in state prison and the woman receiving three years probation.
Dominic Michael Battiato, 33, and Paige Alisha Groves, 27, were arrested in connection with the 6:30 p.m. Aug. 30 robbery of the Home Depot at 34249 Monterey Ave., according to Riverside County Sheriff’s Sgt. Robert Garcia.
Deputies say the duo stole merchandise, which included tools and an air compressor, according to a criminal complaint.
Battiato was arrested the following day after deputies served a search warrant at a home in the 46800 block of Jackson Street, while Groves was arrested a few hours later near Madison Street and Highway 111, according to jail records.
Battiato pleaded guilty to counts of receiving stolen property and making criminal threats, while Groves pleaded to a single count of grand theft.
Groves also pleaded guilty in an unrelated vehicle theft case, while Battiato pleaded guilty to evading arrest and vehicle theft in connection with an Aug. 19 pursuit with sheriff’s deputies in Palm Desert.
An arrest warrant declaration states that deputies responded at 1:16 a.m. that day to a call of a man and woman fighting inside a white pickup truck outside the Pronto Food Mart in Palm Desert. The woman involved was heard screaming “Let me go!”, the declaration states.
A truck matching the description given to deputies was later spotted in the parking lot of a nearby Wendy’s, with Battiato behind the wheel. A deputy pulled Battiato over and while speaking with him, noticed “what appeared to be dried blood on the center console” and that “there was no key in the ignition and the ignition had been punched,” the declaration states.
Battiato sped away from the deputy north on Washington Street, then veered into the Sun City Palm Desert community on Del Webb Boulevard by crashing through the community’s steel gates, according to the declaration. The condition of the gates prevented deputies from following Battiato into the community, according to the declaration.
The driver was able to evade capture, with the truck later found on El Duna Court, a dead-end street just west of Sun City Palm Desert. Deputies say a cell phone found inside the truck connected Battiato to the chase.
Battiato was sentenced to two years in state prison in both cases, but the sentences will be served concurrently.
Groves received probation in both cases.