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Teen faces 70 counts of robbery, battery, charged as adult

Updated December 16, 2022 - 2:29 pm

A Las Vegas teen faces 70 felony and gross misdemeanor charges related to robbery and battery that prosecutors said he committed across the valley, including two on his 17th birthday.

Damajha Lofton appeared in Las Vegas Justice Court on Thursday morning for an initial appearance, where the counts were read to him. He is being held on $150,000 bail.

Family Court Judge David Gibson initially ruled Dec. 7 that the allegations against Lofton were serious enough to move the case to adult court.

“Public safety is paramount in these decisions,” Gibson said in the juvenile hearing. “We do seek to rehabilitate youth when we can, but the subjective factors do kind of speak to the idea that come a certain age, there are consequences.”

Prosecutor Summer Clarke said during the juvenile hearing that Lofton was suspected in 17 robberies between July and October. Detectives said Lofton usually worked with at least one other teen in stealing money from a cash drawer while pretending to buy things from stores, including Walgreens, CVS and Terrible Herbst.

Nine of the robberies occurred in Henderson, and eight happened throughout areas of Clark County, according to the police report Clarke read during the hearing. No other suspects were named.

“When you have two to three individuals jumping over a counter and lunging at a cashier, it absolutely is a show of force,” Clarke said. “It’s a show of intimidation, and the cashiers all stated they were in fear for their life.”

Lofton also was accused of stealing an 81-year-old Summerlin woman’s 2017 Chevrolet Cruze while she was walking from her car to her apartment at 9901 W. Sahara Ave. Clarke said that Lofton pushed the woman and she was injured in the robbery.

Police said Lofton posted pictures of himself on Instagram in the car, and it was found the next day outside Lofton’s home on East Sahara about 18 miles away.

Clarke said Lofton had five prior charges as a juvenile in the past three years, including robbery, burglary, grand larceny and petit larceny. He was sent to Caliente Youth Center for six months and released from probation on June 23, exactly one month before he was suspected of the first robbery in this case.

Defense attorney Aaron Grigsby said the teenager had no parents or support system. He failed two middle school grades, and Grigsby said there was no record of him ever re-enrolling in high school after being expelled.

Grigsby noted that Lofton’s parents never attended a hearing in any juvenile case for Lofton.

After 20 minutes of arguments from Clarke and Grigsby, Gibson made ruled to certify the teen to face adult court.

“Although his personal circumstances are not only pitiable but tragic really, he doesn’t have that family support that he needs in order to adequately assimilate into society,” Gibson said. “His behavior itself has risen to a level that I don’t believe the juvenile system can adequately address.”

Lofton was appointed a public defender on Thursday, and he is due back in court on Dec. 29.

Contact Sabrina Schnur at sschnur@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.

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