Armed robbery suspect skips bail

INDIO, Calif. -   A man suspected of robbing two ice cream vendors and a landscaper in Cathedral City didn't appear in court today, prompting the judge to issue an arrest warrant.

   Christian Alexander Cervantes, 24, of Cathedral City is charged with three counts each of robbery and being a felon in possession of a firearm, one count each of evading arrest, burglary and armed criminal action, and a misdemeanor count of intent to defraud for alleged crimes that occurred earlier this summer.

   Cervantes wasn't present at his felony settlement conference at the Larson Justice Center this morning, so Riverside County Superior Court Judge William Lebov issued a bench warrant carrying bail of $750,000, according to court records. Cervantes was free on a $75,000 bond.

   On July 10, a landscaper reported being robbed in the 68700 block of Tortuga Road in Cathedral City, and Cervantes was arrested in Palm Desert later that day, according to Cathedral City police.

   ``The victim engaged in small talk about the work when the suspect brandished a handgun,'' Sgt. Jon Enos alleged. ``The suspect demanded the victim give him his wallet. The victim, fearing for his life, gave the suspect his wallet.''

   The victim told police the robber fled in a red Ford Mustang. The landscaper checked with a credit card company online and learned that his card was used at a gasoline station/ convenience store, where police found a video image of the man, Enos said.

   Police later saw the Mustang near Demuth Park in Palm Springs. When Cervantes got in it, he led police on a high-speed chase that ended with a collision. A gun believed to be used in the robbery was found in the Mustang, Enos said.

At the crash scene on Monterey and Grand Via, Lt. Glen Haas said "There was a pursuit through the south end of Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, ended up here, no injuries, and the vehicle came to an end here in the bushes."

Speeds reached upwards of 100 miles an hour.  Cervantes and a teenager were initially detained, but the minor was released to his parents when it was determined he had nothing to do with the robbery, police said.

   Police said Cervantes fit the description of an armed man who robbed an ice cream vendor on July 10 and another ice cream vendor on June 28, both in Cathedral City.

   In both instances, the suspect told the vendor he wanted to buy ice cream, then pulled a pistol on the vendor, police said. The suspect in the July 10 robbery was driving a red Mustang, Enos said.

   Cervantes pleaded guilty to a count of  felony robbery in 2010, according to court records.

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