Fresno County judge sentences smash-and-grab defendant to probation, not prison

A Fresno man who was part of a smash-and-grab team that robbed 17 stores in the area won’t be going to prison for his crimes, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Instead, Judge James Kelley sentenced Reginald Taylor, 23, to two years of probation and 90 days on electronic monitoring, following a strong argument from his defense attorney, Taylor D. Pittman.

Taylor was facing up to three years and four months in prison after pleading no contest to two counts of second-degree commercial burglary and one count of second-degree robbery.

He and his co-defendant, 23-year-old Schirrell Cummings, were charged with a total of 24 felonies between them. The thefts took place between Dec. 5, 2021, and May 11, 2022, police said.

In one of their heists, they were caught on a video prying open a locked liquor cabinet at the CVS Pharmacy at Herndon and West avenues.

The video shows them hurriedly stuffing liquor bottles into several shopping bags and casually walking out the front door.

Pittman argued that Taylor has made significant changes in his life since being charged last May, including finishing his high school education, becoming employed full-time and welcoming a new baby.

“He has many reasons to do and be better,” said Pittman, of the firm Fitzgerald, Alvarez & Ciummo.

Pittman added that Taylor has no criminal history and was not the mastermind of the heists.

Police believe Taylor and Cummings were in a relationship at the time they went on their smash and grab crime spree.

“It is reasonable to believe he allowed a romantic relationship to cloud his better judgment at the time,” Pittman said. “He is remorseful for his actions and has learned a tough lesson of consequences at such a young age.”

Senior Deputy District Attorney Nicole Idiart said that while she understood the judge’s decision, she also pushed for time behind bars.

“At a minimum he should be held accountable with some jail time, if not prison,” Idiart said.

Idiart was pleased to see the judge issue Taylor a stern warning that if he violates the conditions of his probation, he would go to prison.

Cummings is expected to be sentenced on Oct. 26 in Dept. 32. She was charged with 18 felonies and agreed to a plea deal on Sept. 14.

As part of the agreement, she pleaded no contest to one count of robbery and will be sentenced to five years in prison.