By Samuel Van Blaricom
SACRAMENTO, CA – Oliver Zarate was charged here in Sacramento County Superior Court this week with second-degree robbery, a felony, accused of being in a group of boys who took a man’s wallet after confronting him in a McDonald’s drive-through.
The event transpired three months after his 18th birthday, which led Judge Alyson Lewis to strongly recommend that Deputy District Attorney Allen Tsikerman work with the juvenile department.
“This is a weak [robbery case] on an 18-year old. Cases like this you should be talking to your juvenile division,” she said. “They could do a [violation of parole] instead, he could have his resolution on the juvenile side, and he would get way more services. It would be better for everybody.”
Despite the recommendation, Zarate is still in adult court, with a trial set for Feb. 17. Zarate is currently on juvenile probation and will be until 2024.
Zarate had previously been held on $50,000 bail which was reduced at the hearing to $10,000, allowing him to leave custody. One of the conditions of this reduction is that he reports to his juvenile probation officer within five days of his release.
According to the victim’s statement taken by Officer Christen Dethlefs, the victim was going through a drive-through with his sister in the car when the four suspects blocked the vehicle from moving forward. When he got out to confront them, one boy grabbed his wallet and ran away with the victim chasing them.
When he caught up with them, the man grappled with the one who allegedly took his wallet, at which point Zarate punched him in the head.
One of the arguments presented by Assistant Public Defender Quoc-Anh To was that Zarate was unaware that anyone had taken the man’s wallet and all that he knew of the circumstance was that “an adult male was chasing after his friends” and so he began to run as well.
“Without evidence that my client knows, that punching … would just be a ‘defense of others’ situation,” he said.