LIMA — Dakota Balo received some words of encouragement Thursday from Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge David Cheney for turning himself in to authorities and admitting he had robbed a Lima fast-food restaurant nearly a year earlier.
The 20-year-old Lima man owned up to his mistakes and then received his punishment for them. Cheney sentenced Balo to five years in prison, a term suggested by prosecutors in a negotiated plea deal, on a single count of aggravated robbery. In exchange for Balo’s plea of guilty, the kidnapping charge was dismissed by the state.
According to court documents, Balo entered the property of the Happy Daz restaurant at 1064 Bellefontaine Ave. on the evening of Jan. 16, 2017, and approached an employee of the restaurant who was taking out the trash. Balo, who was wearing a mask and brandishing a knife approached the employee, held him at knife-point and ordered him back inside the restaurant, according to court records. Once inside, the assailant stole $997 from the restaurant’s cash drawer and fled.
On Dec. 8 of last year, some 11 months after committing the robbery, Balo turned himself in at the Lima Police Department and told officers he committed the Happy Daz robbery, according to court records.
Addressing the court immediately prior to sentence being passed, Balo said of his decision to rob the restaurant, “I regret it … but I accept my consequences; that’s why I turned myself in, your honor.”
Cheney said he appreciated the defendant’s actions, noting, “I don’t see that very often.”
In addition to his prison term, Balo was ordered by the court to make restitution to Happy Daz.