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Former Soldier Gets 20 years For Fort Worth Smoke Shop Robbery

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Vikram Chauhan (Credit: Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney's Office)

Vikram Chauhan (Credit: Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office)

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A former soldier in the U.S. Army who served two tours of duty in the Middle East has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for robbing a smoke shop in Fort Worth.

Vikram Chauhan was convicted Wednesday of two counts of aggravated robbery for holding up employees at the Smokin’ Dragon in July of 2011. Chauhan was sentenced to 20 years on each count, but will serve the sentences concurrently.

On July 7, 2011, a robber wearing a black mask walked into the shop in the 10600 block of South Freeway. The suspect pointed a .45 caliber handgun equipped with a laser sight at the store owner and clerk, demanding money.

The man also gathered money from the store’s cash box and forced the employees into a rear break room.

Surveillance video captured the vehicle, a customized Ford F250 pickup, used in the suspect’s escape. Police interviewed the owner of the vehicle, who revealed that his roommate, Chauhan, had borrowed the vehicle on the night of the robbery.

Authorities obtained a search warrant for their houses and located the gun, gloves, a tan satchel, a military uniform and numerous packages of synthetic marijuana, which were also taken in the robbery.

Chauhan was subsequently arrested and charged.

“This defendant received training to protect and defend our country,” said Prosecutor Sam Williams. “He betrayed that public trust and used that training against the very citizens he took an oath to defend. By their verdict in this trial, the citizens of this community voiced their displeasure with his dis-honorable conduct.”

While free on bond, Chauhan held up a bank in Benbrook. He was sentenced to 5.5 years for bank robbery and will serve time following his 20-year sentence.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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