A suspected serial burglar accused of residential break-ins in two Coachella Valley cities re-entered not guilty pleas to felony charges Wednesday.
Teddy Kaiser Hartwell, 37, of Palm Springs, originally pleaded not guilty Jan. 3 to seven felony counts — six of burglary and one of receiving stolen property, according to court records. The original charges against him had been dismissed but were immediately re-filed on the same day.
On Jan. 17, Hartwell waived his right to a preliminary hearing and Riverside County Superior Court Judge James Stafford Hawkins ruled that there was sufficient evidence to warrant a trial for him on all charges.
He re-entered not guilty pleas to all charges Wednesday at the Larson Justice Center in Indio.
He was taken into custody April 30, 2021, hours after deputies responded to a burglary call on Via Las Flores in Rancho Mirage, according to Sgt. Christopher Ternes from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
Ternes said the resident told deputies that while he was in his kitchen, he noticed a man inside his home with a flashlight, prompting him to call 911. The burglar then fled the home, hopped into a vehicle and sped away.
Deputies spotted the suspect’s vehicle about six miles away in the 300 block of North Indian Canyon Drive in Palm Springs and made a traffic stop, according to Ternes.
“Multiple items of stolen property were located during the search of Hartwell’s vehicle and his residence,” Ternes said.
Investigators said they were subsequently able to link Hartwell to a dozen other residential cat burglaries and two residential burglaries that occurred in the cities of Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage since March 30, 2021.
The defendant was linked to burglaries at homes in Palm Desert located on Oakmont Drive, Augusta Drive, Amid Drive, Woodhaven Drive and Marrakesh Drive. In Rancho Mirage, Hartwell is suspected in burglaries at homes on Via Haciendas, Seville Court and Porto Cielo Court, according to court papers.
Hartwell has prior felony convictions, including burglary and robbery, according to court records.