Riverside County ‘Sweet and Stylin’ bandit’ convicted in second trial of 50 more counts
A convicted felon who perpetrated a months-long robbery spree in Riverside County targeting numerous businesses and involving dozens of victims was convicted Thursday — in his second trial — of 50 counts of robbery, burglary and false imprisonment.
A Riverside jury deliberated three days before finding 37-year-old Sergio Nicolas Lopez guilty of all but eight charges.
Superior Court Judge Bernard Schwartz scheduled a sentencing hearing for Nov. 17 at the Riverside Hall of Justice. Lopez, who is being held without bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside, is known as the Sweet & Stylin’ Bandit and is facing more than 60 years in state prison.
“I am not aware of any other single person who has committed more robberies in Riverside County than this individual,” Deputy District Attorney Tim Cross told City News Service. “This was an unprecedented robbery series.”
Cross called 77 witnesses over nearly a month before resting his case last week.
“It was very challenging,” the prosecutor said. “We had agencies from all over the county working together to bring this to a successful prosecution.”
The defendant had already been convicted of 20 felony counts, including 10 robbery charges, from a trial that concluded in August 2014.
That first trial, handled by a different prosecutor, focused on roughly half of the robbery series for which Lopez was blamed. As in the most recent proceeding, he was acquitted of several charges, and jurors deadlocked on a few others.
Cross said the D.A.’s office decided not to attempt to try Lopez on the entire 127-count complaint in the first go-round due to time constraints and manageability. So the case was split in two.
All of the allegations stemmed from holdups at businesses in Hemet, Indio, Moreno Valley, Murrieta, Riverside, San Jacinto and Temecula.
The robbery series began in November 2010 and ended in April 2011, according to […]