Anthony Noriega, 38, of Ceres, was sentenced to eight years in state prison after being convicted of two counts of robbery and one count of sexual battery.
Noriega pleaded no contest to both charges on Sept. 30 and admitted having been previously convicted of robbery in 1997.
Deputy District Attorney Elaine G. Casillas prosecuted the case and said that on June 14, 2015, Noreiga went into the Payless Shoe Source at 1520 Mitchell Road in Ceres while employees were closing the store for the evening. Armed with a knife, Noriega was able to lock the front door with an employee's key and demanded money from the register. Two customers leaving the store saw what was happening and called 9-1-1. Money was handed over to Noriega along with a pair of boots and socks that he insisted be placed upon his feet. One of the store clerks was able to activate a silent alarm.
When Ceres police arrived, both clerks tried to calm Noriega down and told him to exit through the back door. Both clerks then ran to the safety of officers waiting outside. Noriega was apprehended as he ran out the back door right into police who had guns drawn.
Officers learned that Noreiga had assaulted the women during the takeover robbery, grabbing one by the hair to move her around. He sexually groped one of the women.
Judge Shawn Bessey handed down the sentence. Noriega will have to serve at least 85 percent of his prison term in actual custody and register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.