By Neal Putnam
A suspect originally arrested for attempted robbery at a KFC restaurant in Ramona was ordered June 4 to stand trial for that offense and 11 other felony charges in several other robberies in Ramona.
Raul Cruz, 35, was ordered to appear June 18 in El Cajon Superior Court to set a trial date after Judge Allan Preckel heard testimony from six witnesses in the preliminary hearing.
The 13 charges represent three incidents that include a a holdup at the Valero service station at 1210 Main St. on Dec. 12, 2011, a robbery at the Circle K store at 704 Main St. on Dec. 16, and the attempted robbery at KFC at 1025 Main St. on Dec. 17.
The charges include three robbery and attempted robbery counts, three counts of assault with a firearm, three burglary charges, receiving stolen property, possession of a gun by a drug user, and carrying a concealed weapon. The judge dismissed two counts of false imprisonment and a weapons charge.
One witness failed to show up for the hearing and a sheriff’s deputy testified about what the witness told him. The owner of the stolen gun testified as did sheriff’s deputies.
Deputy District Attorney Heather Trocha said none of the cash taken in the robberies was recovered, but some lotto tickets that were stolen were recovered. Trocha said Cruz won a small amount of cash from the lotto tickets, which he redeemed before his Dec. 17 arrest by deputies.
The first holdup at the Valero station was followed by a Dec. 16 robbery at 1:45 a.m. at the Circle K. Witnesses said the suspect wore a mask.
Cruz allegedly demanded cash from KFC employees around 8 p.m., but fled without taking any money.
Cruz remains in the South Bay Detention Facility on $500,000 bail. He has pleaded not guilty.