A man accused of robbing and attempting to sexually assault a 61-year-old clerk at a Moreno Valley store must stand trial on attempted rape and other charges, a judge ruled Monday.

Nathaniel Jose Colbert Chaves, 23, was arrested in February 2019 after the alleged attack in the 24000 block of Sunnymead Boulevard, near Heacock Street. The defendant, who has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, is being held at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside.

Following a preliminary hearing at the Riverside Hall of Justice, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Mac Fisher found there was sufficient evidence to warrant a trial on the attempted rape count, as well as kidnapping to commit rape, robbery and assault.

Fisher scheduled a post-preliminary hearing arraignment for July 14 and kept Chaves’ bail at $1 million.

According to sheriff’s Sgt. Gil Gabriel, Chaves went into the store on the morning of Feb. 21, 2019, and asked the victim whether she was hiring.

“As the woman spoke to Chaves, he assaulted and forced her to a back room while she attempted to fight back,” Gabriel alleged. “During the attack, Chaves attempted to sexually assault the victim (but) aborted the assault and took the victim’s purse and phone and left the store.”

The shopkeeper called 911, and deputies arrived within a few minutes, but the assailant was gone. Gabriel said the woman was taken to nearby Riverside University Medical Center for treatment of unspecified non-life-threatening injuries.

Chavez allegedly used the woman’s credit cards at area stores to make purchases, and detectives were able to obtain security surveillance video camera images, enabling them to identify him and obtain his vehicle license plate, the sergeant said.

A search warrant was secured a day later, and deputies served it at the defendant’s residence on Cobblestone Lane, where evidence from the robbery was seized, Gabriel said.

The defendant was arrested without a struggle. He has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.