A 20-year-old man accused of stealing thousands of dollars during a holdup in Riverside pleaded not guilty Thursday to armed robbery.
Zeferino Gerzay Medrano of Riverside was arrested Friday following an investigation into the robbery in the 3800 block of Victoria Avenue, near University Avenue.
Medrano was arraigned before Riverside County Superior Court Judge O.G. Mango, who scheduled a felony settlement conference for June 8 at the Riverside Hall of Justice and ordered the defendant held on $105,000 bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside.
Two others were taken into custody at the apartment where Medrano was located — Sergio Rabago and Vanessa Garcia, both 35 and of Riverside.
Rabago was booked into the downtown jail on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a gun, possession of controlled substances and transportation of illegal drugs for sale. He’s now being held on $25,000 bail and was not charged in connection with the robbery.
According to the DA’s office, his case may come under federal jurisdiction.
Garcia was released on her own recognizance after being arrested on suspicion of drug-related activity.
According to Riverside police Officer Ryan Railsback, the holdup happened about 11:20 a.m. Friday, when Medrano and another man, whose identity has not been confirmed, allegedly entered the business brandishing handguns. They stole $12,000 in cash while holding the employees at gunpoint, the police spokesman alleged.
With the help of the multi-agency county Gang Impact Team, detectives quickly identified Medrano as one of the alleged hold-up men, Railsback said.
He said a search warrant was obtained for the residence where the defendant was last known to be staying, in the 2300 block of Fifth Street, and law enforcement personnel served it there on Friday evening, at which point Medrano, Rabago and Garcia were all taken into custody without incident.
Railsback said investigators seized “nearly 15 pounds of methamphetamine … and a loaded, concealed handgun” in the apartment. The cash was not recovered.
Medrano has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County, but court records show he has several unresolved misdemeanor cases pending.
Rabago has prior convictions for domestic violence and evading a peace officer, records show.
No information was available regarding Garcia.
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