Man charged with 78 Riverside County robberies

Sam Quinones (Los Angeles Times) | October 22, 2011

A Hemet man, reportedly a member of a Los Angeles street gang, has pleaded not guilty to a series of 78 Riverside County robberies that prosecutors say he committed to support a heroin habit, local media are reporting.

The Press-Enterprise reports that police believe Sergio Nicolas Lopez, 31, was the robber they had dubbed the “Sweet n Stylin’ Bandit,” for his preference for small businesses with a few female employees on duty.

Lopez was arrested in May and charged with a robbery in Indio, authorities say. This week prosecutors expanded their case against him to include robberies in Temecula, Murrieta, Moreno Valley, Hemet, San Jacinto and Riverside, dating to the fall of 2010.

In all, Lopez faces 266 felony charges, including robbery, burglary, and carjacking; he faces up to 184 years in prison if convicted of all the charges, the Press-Enterprise reported.

In April, Lopez allegedly robbed a linen store in Indio, authorities say. A high-speed chase with police followed. The suspect ditched his car, but left identification, with a replica gun behind in the car, the newspaper reported.

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Photo credit: Riverside County Sheriff’s Department

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