Man accused of robbing ice cream vendors charged with felonies

INDIO, Calif. - Felony charges were filed Tuesday against a Cathedral City man suspected of robbing two ice cream vendors and a landscaper in Cathedral City.

Christian Alexander Cervantes, 23, 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.

Arraignment was scheduled Tuesday afternoon at the Larson Justice Center in Indio for Cervantes, who was arrested at Gran Via Court and Monterey Avenue in Palm Desert about 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

A landscaper had reported being robbed in the 68700 block of Tortuga Road about four hours earlier, Cathedral City police Sgt. Jon Enos said.

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

The victim told police that 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 got an image of the man, Enos said.

Police later spotted the Mustang near Demuth Park in Palm Springs and saw Cervantes get in. He was arrested after leading officers on a high-speed chase that ended with a collision in Rancho Mirage, the sergeant said.

Investigators determined that a 16-year-old passenger wasn't involved in the robbery and released him, Enos said. A gun believed to be used in the robbery was found in the Mustang, he said.

Police subsequently determined Cervantes fit the description of an armed man who robbed an ice cream vendor in Cathedral City about 11:40 a.m. Thursday and another ice cream vendor on June 28.

In both instances, the suspect told the vendor he wanted to buy ice cream, and pulled a handgun while the vendor retrieved items from his cart and demanded the vendor's money, police said. The suspect in the Thursday robbery was driving a red Mustang, Enos said.

Cervantes, who was being held on $100,000 bail, pleaded guilty to a felony robbery count in 2010, according to court records.

Investigators believe there may be additional victims and asked anyone with information to call Cathedral City police at (760) 770-0300.

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