Ahlers’ accomplices, Daniel Gibbs, 24, and Jerry Webb, 34, are each already serving prison sentences for their involvement.
About a dozen people were gathered around a backroom poker table May 25, 2012, when two masked men—later found to be Gibbs and Webb— stormed the Cleveland Road room and demanded their money and valuables.
The pair brandished handguns, pistol-whipped one uncooperative player and made off with a total of $30,000 in cash and jewelry.
By June, investigators had charged Gibbs and Webb, but were sure there was more to the story.
In March of this year, a grand jury indicted Ahler for “masterminding” the plot.
“We knew there had to be a connection inside and always suspected it was Ahlers,” Sandusky police detective Gary Wichman said at the time.
Ahlers was a regular at the poker game. He knew who was playing and when they’d be there. According to witnesses, Ahlers even lured away one armed player right before Webb and Gibbs robbed the game.
During interviews with detectives, one of the robbers offered up Ahler’s name as the man behind the scheme.
Ahlers is the former owner of the now out-of-business Cleveland Road deli, The Krunchie Pickle. Four months after the robbery, his restaurant closed up shop, with Ahlers blaming tanking sales as the reason.
Ahlers was initially charged with eight counts of complicity to commit aggravated robbery and one count each of receiving stolen property, tampering with evidence and arson.
In Erie County Common Pleas court judge Tygh Tone’s courtroom last week, Ahlers pleaded guilty to one count complicity to commit aggravated robbery in exchange for the dismissal of his other charges, according to court documents.
Gibbs was sentenced in December 2012 to 13 years in prison in after he was found guilty of aggravated robbery and felonious assault, the documents stated.
Webb was sentenced in August to five years in prison after he was found guilty of aggravated robbery, felonious assault and felony breaking and entering, the documents stated.