A probationer accused of vandalizing vehicles and other property throughout Riverside on Monday, causing more than $100,000 in damage, pleaded not guilty Friday to multiple felony charges.
Christopher Michael Henderson, 37, is facing seven counts of felony vandalism and one count of making criminal threats, along with a sentence-enhancing allegation of destroying a single property resulting in more than $5,000 damage.
The defendant appeared before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Gail O’Rane, who scheduled a preliminary hearing for June 18 at the Riverside Hall of Justice and set Henderson’s bail at $20,000.
He’s being held at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside.
“This suspect caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage during his crime spree of what is classified as a non-violent crime,” Riverside police Chief Larry Gonzalez alleged earlier this week. “Our hope is for appropriate consequences to be given so his behaviors can change for the good while still being held accountable for his destruction.”
According to Riverside police Officer Ryan Railsback, Henderson’s alleged series of offenses was first observed about 5 p.m. Monday at Walter’s Mercedes Benz in the 8500 block of Indiana Avenue, where the windows on 23 new vans were shattered.
Officers were just beginning to investigate the property damage when they received another report of vandalism, this one involving a man throwing rocks at the front of a shuttered business in the 9300 block of Magnolia, Railsback said.
During the second investigation, police received word that several windows on the closed Arlington Library, located in the same area, had been smashed, he said.
Relying on witnesses’ descriptions and video security surveillance footage, detectives quickly identified Henderson as the alleged perpetrator, and he was tracked to the intersection of Magnolia and Donald Avenue, where he was taken into custody without a struggle less than an hour after the rampage started, according to Railsback.
After his arrest, the suspect was implicated in another act of vandalism at the Youth Innovation Center in the 9500 block of Miller Street, the officer said.
On Tuesday morning, employees of the center discovered punched-out windows and a garden hose pushed through one of them, into the building, with the faucet turned on, causing flooding and other damage, he said. Security cameras caught Henderson in the act of committing the offenses, Railsback alleged.
The defendant, who is being held at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside, has prior convictions for assault with a deadly weapon, vandalism, fraud, false representation of facts in a lawsuit and receiving stolen property.
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