A twice-convicted felon who robbed three Waco businesses within a few hours last summer was sentenced to 40 years in prison Monday.

Jose Alejandro Lopez, 41, pleaded guilty to three counts of robbery in a plea agreement with prosecutors, who recommended that he serve 40 years on each count, to be served concurrently, and that a pending charge of unauthorized use of motor vehicle be dropped.

Judge Matt Johnson of Waco’s 54th State District Court accepted the plea deal after meeting briefly with prosecutor Danielle London and Lopez’s attorney, Chris Bullajian, in his chambers.

Lopez, who has two previous robbery convictions, was on parole when he robbed a convenience store, a discount store and a barbecue restaurant in the morning and early afternoon of July 5, 2018.

According to police reports, Lopez entered the Alon gas station at 825 W. Waco Drive about 8:30 a.m. and indicated he had a pistol in his pocket. An employee told police the man got in a car and drove off, giving authorities a description of the getaway vehicle.

About three hours later, employees at the Family Dollar, 624 E. Waco Drive, reported a robbery at that store, giving a description of the man and vehicle that matched the earlier description by the Alon employee, police said.

As police searched the area for the vehicle, a third robbery was reported at Mama & Papa B’s Bar-B-Q, 525 S. Eighth St.

An employee told police the robber entered the restaurant with his hand in a bag, acting like he had a gun. He robbed the store and fled, police reported.

While Lopez made it appear that he was carrying a gun, witnesses from the three robberies told police they did not see a weapon, police said.

After the third robbery, police surrounded the area around South Ninth Street and Ross Avenue. Officers found the vehicle in an alley between Ninth and 10th streets on Ross Avenue and also found a shirt belonging to the suspect.

Lopez was arrested nearby, officers said.

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