A felon accused of perpetrating thefts in Moreno Valley, Perris and Riverside that resulted in an estimated $20,000 in losses to the retail establishments is slated for a preliminary hearing later this month.
Caleb Samuel Johnson, 33, of Moreno Valley, was arrested last week, along with 37-year-old Micaela Presley, following a Riverside County Sheriff’s Department investigation that began at the end of December.
Johnson is charged with grand theft, receiving stolen property, being a felon in possession of a gun and ammunition, and a sentence-enhancing allegation of committing crimes while on bond.
He pleaded not guilty during an arraignment Monday before Superior Court Judge Sean Crandell, who scheduled the preliminary hearing for Feb. 23 at the Riverside Hall of Justice. The hearing will determine whether there’s sufficient evidence to warrant a trial on the felony counts.
Johnson is being held in lieu of $170,000 bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.
Presley was taken into custody with him on Thursday and booked into the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside on suspicion of receiving stolen property. However, she was released on her own recognizance within hours. It was unclear whether sheriff’s detectives intend to seek charges against her.
According to sheriff’s Sgt. Robert Martinez, on the morning of Dec. 31, the defendant allegedly accessed a business in the 23900 block of Sunnymead Boulevard in Moreno Valley, stealing undisclosed items.
Martinez said sheriff’s investigators began collecting evidence and pursuing leads that ultimately pointed to Johnson as the alleged thief.
As the investigation progressed, additional evidence was amassed indicating that “Johnson was … responsible for several additional thefts at businesses in Moreno Valley, Perris and Riverside,” the sergeant alleged.
A search warrant was obtained and served at the convicted felon’s residence in the 12200 block of Calle Sombra, where “several thousand dollars’ worth of stolen merchandise was located,” Martinez said.
“A firearm and ammunition were also located,” he said.
According to the sheriff’s spokesman, the alleged stolen goods were returned to the businesses identified as targets in the theft series.
Court records show that Johnson has prior convictions in a neighboring jurisdiction, but the offenses weren’t listed.
Background information on Presley was unavailable.