A 41-year-old man accused of stealing a woman’s laptop and injuring her in the process in Thermal pleaded not guilty Wednesday to robbery.

Deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department arrested Jesus Perales of Indio on Sunday after responding to a report of a strong-arm robbery just after noon at the Truck Stops of America in the 46000 block of Dillon Road.

Wednesday, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office charged Perales with one felony count of robbery. He pleaded not guilty the same day when he appeared for arraignment at the Larson Justice Center.

A Riverside County Superior Court Judge scheduled him to return on Jan. 20 for a felony settlement conference.

According to Sgt. David Koedyker, a woman reported that a man stole her laptop bag from the trunk of her vehicle. The victim said she confronted the man and got into a physical confrontation in which she sustained minor injuries. Perales then allegedly drove away in a white sedan, police said.

Authorities said the suspect’s vehicle was found, with the assistance of a California Highway Patrol helicopter, in a citrus field in the 40000 block of Dillon Road . After searching the area, deputies found the suspect in a nearby camp, and found the victim’s stolen property buried nearby, officials said.

The victim’s stolen property was returned to her and Perales was booked into the John Benoit Detention Center in Indio, where he remains on $90,000 bail.

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