Valley News -

Felon accused of robbery spree in Menifee, San Jacinto and Temecula arraigned


Last updated 12/26/2018 at 3:17pm

BANNING - An ex-con accused of robbing multiple stores in Riverside County pleaded not guilty on Wednesday, Dec. 26 to a dozen felony charges.

Freedom William Foster, 49, of Sage was arrested earlier this month following a sheriff's investigation into a robbery spree involving a lone bandit who held up establishments in Menifee, San Jacinto and Temecula.

Foster is charged with nine counts of armed robbery and one count each attempted carjacking, felony evading and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

He was arraigned before Superior Court Judge Mark Johnson, who scheduled a Jan. 7 felony settlement conference at the Banning Justice Center.

According to sheriff's Sgt. Ken Reichle, Foster allegedly held up an outlet in the 100 block of Sanderson Avenue in San Jacinto on the evening of Dec. 9. After forcing a clerk to hand over an undisclosed amount of cash, the defendant fled in a Jeep Cherokee, for which deputies immediately began searching after receiving the 911 call, Reichle alleged.

He said patrolmen spotted the SUV within a couple of minutes and gave chase. The Jeep ran out of gas soon afterward in the area of First Street and Pico Avenue, and defendant abandoned the vehicle and managed to elude deputies swarming the location, Reichle said.

Three days later, based on evidence gleaned from the SUV, investigators tracked Foster down to a residence in the 39000 block of Dusty Trail, according to the sergeant. He said Foster spotted uniformed and plainclothes personnel approaching his property, at which point he ran into the open desert. The suspect was apprehended a short time later without a struggle.

Detectives developed leads pointing to the defendant as the alleged bandit responsible for robbing nine stores over a monthlong span.

According to court records, Foster has a prior conviction for assault resulting in great bodily injury. The defendant is being held in lieu of $3 million bail at the nearby Smith Correctional Facility.


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