A Whittier man accused of crashing a car into the front of a La Mirada fitness center that had canceled his membership was charged Thursday with five felony counts, including attempted murder.
Sergio Gabriel Reyes, 32, pleaded not guilty to one count each of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and driving or taking a vehicle without consent and two counts of vandalism with over $400 in damage, along with an allegation that he was convicted of robbery in Los Angeles County in 2006.
Reyes is accused of taking a relative’s silver sedan, driving it to the gym and crashing the car through the front window about 1:45 a.m. Tuesday, nearly hitting an employee who was standing at the reception desk at Crunch Fitness, in the 12800 block of Valley View Avenue.
Reyes’ gym membership was terminated in early March due to alleged inappropriate behavior, and he allegedly had prior disputes with gym employees and had vowed to return, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
The gym was open at the time of the crash.
“Witnesses gave chase and followed the suspect to where he was seen enter(ing) the passenger side of an awaiting vehicle,” according to a sheriff’s statement. “The getaway driver then traversed several streets in attempts of losing the witnesses who were in another vehicle giving chase.”
The getaway car crashed at Alicante and Manzanares roads in La Mirada, and the driver got out and escaped on foot.
Reyes, the passenger in the getaway vehicle, was arrested shortly after 3 a.m. Tuesday and has remained jailed since then, according to the sheriff’s department.
Workers at the gym told KNX 1070 Newsradio that Reyes’ membership had been canceled after complaints that he was allegedly harassing women. They also said he was trying to get his $70 enrollment fee back and allegedly threatened to fight an employee.
Reyes — who is being held on $2 million bail — is due back in court April 5, when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to allow the case against him to proceed to trial.
If convicted as charged, he could face a potential maximum sentence of more than 25 years in state prison, according to the District Attorney’s Office.