Labrada-Guillen and his crew apparently had eaten meals from Wendy’s during the burglary and tossed restaurant rubbish into the bin with jewels, Geary said. Labrada-Guillen favored a Frosty.
Labrada-Guillen, however, and his crew quickly decided some of the jewelry from the heist — jewelry the store was repairing for customers of more modest means — was low quality. That is when they made a second critical mistake.
They jettisoned those jewels and the Wendy’s litter in a trash dumpster about two miles from Diamonds R Forever, Geary said. They left them in the bin from the store, which police quickly linked to the burglary.
That momentary sloppiness proved Labrada-Guillen’s undoing, Geary said. The burglar left his DNA on a spoon for a Wendy’s Frosty ice cream, and his partial fingerprint was found on the Wendy’s bag.
Unfortunately for authorities, the then 25-year-old Labrada-Guillen did not have a criminal record so his fingerprints and DNA were not on file. However, he did have a bad driving record and last year he committed one driving offense too many and elevated the offense to felony status under Florida law. Authorities there took his DNA.
That DNA swab allowed Cobb County investigators to solve the case, Geary said. “We had a match,” he said.
But they still had a legal road block. Georgia law requires burglary cases to be indicted within four years and Labrada-Guillen’s case fell outside the legal deadline, Geary said. Prosecutors circumvented that hurdle after investigators tied Labrada-Guillen to four more burglaries in Florida, Texas and Indiana, at least one by DNA left on a ski mask found at a Hoosier heist, and indicted him for racketeering because he was part of a continuing criminal enterprise, Geary said.
Labrada-Guillen told Superior Court Judge Henry Thompson he would waive any legal challenges to the burglary conviction if allowed to plead to the lesser offense. Thompson sentenced him to 20 years with seven in prison and 13 on probation.
“It appears your attorney has done a very good job on your behalf,” Thompson said.
He also required him to repay $1.6 million in restitution but acknowledged that Labrada-Guillen would probably never be able to repay the amount, which his lawyer had calculated at $21,000 a month for the payment schedule.
“We’re all realists here,” Thompson said.
Labrada-Guillen had another bit of bad luck. Geary said the Georgia sentencing reforms had not yet been enacted by the legislature when Labrada-Guillen committed his crime so he was sentenced under the 2010 law.
Under the old law he faced a maximum 20 year sentence for a commercial burglary; now it is only five years, Geary said.
Federal authorities have taken over prosecutions involving Labrada-Guillen’s burglaries in Florida, Indiana and Texas, Geary said.