Federal courthouse
Federal courthouse in downtown San Diego. Photo by Chris Stone

A Carlsbad man pleaded guilty to federal charges Friday for robbing grocery stores and other businesses across San Diego County over a 15-day period last year.

Benjamin Robert Laubbacher, 50, admitted to committing six robberies between Jan. 22 and Feb. 5, 2021, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which said the hold-ups netted him $2,327.32 total.

An indictment filed against him states the businesses were a CVS pharmacy in Solana Beach, a Bath & Body Works in Encinitas, a Gelson’s market in Del Mar and Vons grocery stores in Carlsbad, Encinitas and Del Mar. The indictment also alleges there was an attempted robbery of an Albertsons in Rancho Bernardo on Feb. 5.

Prosecutors allege the robberies were committed in a similar fashion, with Laubbacher entering the stores, picking out items, then approaching the register and demanding cash.

During some of the robberies, he showed store employees that he was armed with a black handgun in his waistband, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

“This defendant inflicted maximum terror on cashiers, who will suffer a lifetime of anguish over the memory of this experience,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “Now he will be held accountable.”


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Ellen Bullock