A 57-year-old Arcadia man pleaded not guilty Monday to faking injuries to scam senior drivers out of money in the Pasadena area.
Richard Henry Solis, dubbed the “Tire Toe Thief,” is accused of waiting in supermarket parking lots for his victims to back their cars out of parking spaces, then tapping on their rear window or trunk to claim the driver had run over his toes or foot. Solis would allegedly threaten legal action against the driver unless they paid him money for medical expenses, according to Pasadena police.
Solis was arrested Nov. 8 and is being held in lieu of $480,000 bail while facing two felony counts of grand theft from an elderly person and six misdemeanor counts of petty theft from an elderly person. He was in a wheelchair Monday for his arraignment. A judge ordered him to appear in a downtown courtroom Jan. 6, when a date is expected to be set for a preliminary hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.
In five cases between September 2018 and October 2019 — all involving older women — Solis allegedly got into the passenger sides of the vehicles, where he would distract the drivers before stealing their purses or wallets, according to Pasadena police Detective Victor Cass.
In the only case involving a man, Solis defrauded the victim of $160,000 over an eight-month span by persuading the victim he needed additional treatment for his injured foot and then threatening the victim with losing his driving privileges in order to keep the payments coming, Cass said when Solis was arrested.
The victims ranged in age from 65 to 91 years old, according to Deputy District Attorney Melanie Drew.
Solis was convicted in 2006 and 2009 of seven counts of first-degree burglary, according to Drew.
If convicted as charged, Solis faces up to 16 years in prison.