A 27-year-old convicted sex offender accused of trying to rape a female jogger and groping a woman standing in a busy Riverside grocery store pleaded not guilty Wednesday to felony and misdemeanor charges.

Ricardo Cabrera Jr. of Riverside was arrested Thursday following a weeks-long investigation by the Riverside Police Department’s Sexual Assault Child Abuse Unit.

Cabrera is charged with assault to commit rape, sexual battery and probation violations.

He was arraigned before Riverside County Superior Court Judge O.G. Magno, who scheduled a felony settlement conference for Aug. 21 at the Riverside Hall of Justice.

The defendant is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.

According to Riverside Police Officer Ryan Railsback, the first assault occurred on the evening of June 7 at the Trader Joe’s in the Riverside Plaza shopping center.

Railsback said a woman was standing in a checkout aisle when the defendant allegedly crept up behind her and pressed his groin into her buttocks. The woman moved away quickly and headed into the parking lot.

“She told her husband, who was parked nearby, and a physical confrontation ensued,” the police spokesman said. “The suspect was able to get away in his vehicle after the struggle. Evidence was left behind, and the victim and husband were able to provide officers with a detailed description of the suspect.”

Almost three weeks later, on the evening of June 27, a woman was jogging in the vicinity of Flat Rock Drive and Riverwalk Parkway, near La Sierra University, when the defendant tackled her from behind, knocking her to the ground, then attempting to hold her down as she fought him, Railsback said.

“He placed his hand over her mouth, but she continued to punch, kick and even bite him until he got off her and ran away,” Railsback said.

He said the victim provided a description of the assailant and his vehicle.

Police said detectives ultimately determined that Cabrera, a registered sex offender, was involved in both attacks, though no details were released regarding what evidence linked him to the crimes.

With the aid of U.S. Marshals, the defendant was located and taken into custody without incident in Bloomington.

According to court records, Cabrera’s previous convictions include sexual battery, annoying a child, statutory rape and driving under the influence — all misdemeanors.

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