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Former RPD officer found guilty in 2016 armed robbery

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After a three-day trial, a former Roswell police officer was found guilty Friday on charges related to a 2016 armed robbery.

Valerie Palombi

Valerie Palombi, 27, was found guilty of armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and two counts of resisting an officer, according to a press release from the 12th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted the case.

Palombi — employed by the Roswell Police Department from 2014 until her termination in 2016 — was taken into custody after the trial. She will remain in custody pending her May 14 sentencing hearing.

Although the robbery happened in Roswell and the trial took place in the 5th Judicial District, Chaves County District Attorney Dianna Luce said Tuesday that the district attorney’s office in the 12th Judicial District was appointed to prosecute the case because Palombi is related to former Chaves County District Attorney Janetta Hicks.

The release states Palombi faces a minimum sentence of up to one year and a maximum of 15 years in prison.

Palombi’s accomplice in the robbery, Kevin Blake, 26, pleaded guilty in August 2017 to charges of armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

Blake’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, March 12 at 4 p.m. He faces a minimum sentence of two years and a maximum of 15 years in prison.

The criminal charges against Palombi and Blake stem from a June 28, 2016 robbery of a Subway restaurant.

Blake allegedly entered the restaurant at 9:30 p.m. and ordered a sandwich. When the employee turned away to get the bread to make it, Blake pulled out a gun and aimed it at the employee.

Blake walked the employee into the back of the restaurant where another employee was washing dishes. Blake then ordered the two employees to get on the floor and threatened to shoot them if they moved, according to the release.

A woman — later identified as Palombi — entered the restaurant and took $600 from the cash register.

Palombi and Blake then fled the scene. No one was hurt in the robbery.

Palombi was arrested two nights after the robbery, when she was spotted by an officer at a convenience store in the 500 block of West McGaffey Street.

Blake was arrested a short time later that same night at a mobile home park at the 300 block of West Linda Vista Boulevard.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.