Sun, Dec. 15

Sedona Bashas bandit sentenced

CAMP VERDE -- The first of two men has been sentenced to prison in what was described as a crime that has had sustained emotional impacts for an employee of the Sedona Bashas' store.

Blake Allan Welt, 22, and Brandon Garside are both charged with the burglary of the grocery last October.

Welt is said to have entered the store at 4:30 on a Friday morning, approached an employee and used duct tape to tie him up, took a large amount of money and left. A former Bashas employee himself, Welt was recognized and later arrested in Cottonwood. He pleaded to conspiracy to commit burglary in the 3rd degree, kidnapping, theft and trafficking in stolen property in the 2nd degree.

Prosecutor Patty Wortman said the employee was very shaken up over the incident and even today is looking over his shoulder.

Defense Attorney Terry Hance said the incident was "thoughtless and amateurish that could have had much more serious consequences." He said Welt has been "on his own since 16 or 17 and was not a success in the maturation process. He will rely on the probation department to parent him."

Judge Bluff allowed for probation on the conspiracy, kidnap and trafficking charges, but said he must serve prison time on the theft charge.

He sentenced Welt to 18 months in prison on the theft charge plus five years supervised probation on the remaining offenses. He must also pay restitution to Bashas of $6,586.25.

Garside will be sentenced later.

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