An ex-con who allegedly robbed a Riverside supermarket while armed with a knife pleaded not guilty Wednesday to felony charges.
Juan Miguel Caudillo, 30, was arrested near the scene of last Thursday’s holdup at the Stater Bros. store at 3240 La Sierra Ave.
Along with a robbery count, Caudillo is charged with making criminal threats, probation violations and a sentence-enhancing allegation of using a deadly weapon in the commission of a felony.
He was arraigned before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Emma Smith, who scheduled a felony settlement conference for Oct. 26 at the Riverside Hall of Justice.
The defendant is being held in lieu of $135,000 bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside.
According to Riverside police, Caudillo was walking through the supermarket when he allegedly swiped merchandise from a shelf and tried to conceal it under his shirt about 6:15 p.m. Thursday.
When the store manager confronted him, the convicted felon allegedly brandished a knife and threatened the victim with it, forcing the man to retreat and call 911, at which point Caudillo bolted from the location.
A patrol officer arrived moments later and obtained a description of the defendant, broadcasting it to the police department’s Air-1 helicopter crew, who were patrolling nearby, police said.
Caudillo was spotted standing outside a pizza parlor in a shopping center across the street from the Stater Bros., and the crew directed patrol units to his location, according to investigators.
The probationer was arrested without a struggle.
According to court records, Caudillo has prior convictions for auto theft, felony evading, possession of controlled substances, burglary and grand theft.
Records also show that the judge who handled Caudillo’s arraignment served as his public defender in a 2014 case, before she was appointed to the bench. It was unknown whether she intended to disqualify herself from overseeing further proceedings involving the defendant.
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