A 26-year-old man accused of groping two women in the parking lot of a Corona mall pleaded not guilty Tuesday to misdemeanor charges.

Matthew Strazicich of Riverside was arrested last November following an investigation by the Corona Police Department and was ultimately charged with four counts of sexual battery.

Strazicich was arraigned before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Walter Kubelun, who scheduled a trial-setting conference for Dec. 10 at the Riverside Hall of Justice.

The defendant is free on a $2,500 bond.

According to Corona police Officer Rozzy Rael, the first alleged assault happened last Oct. 28 in a parking lot at the Crossings at Corona, near Grand Oaks and Tuscany streets. The defendant touched a woman inappropriately while she was loading items into her vehicle, then fled, Rael alleged.

On Nov. 24, another woman was also in the process of placing groceries in her car after leaving the Target store on the north end of the mall when the defendant allegedly approached from behind, touched her privates and ran to a nearby vehicle, Rael said.

According to investigators, security surveillance cameras captured the assailant speeding away in a silver Ford Expedition. Using the SUV’s license plate information, Strazicich was later identified as the owner, police said.

Strazicich was taken into custody without incident on Nov. 27 at his residence in the 3500 block of Banbury Drive.

He has no documented prior felony or misdemeanor convictions.

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