MURRIETA – A twice-convicted felon accused of trying to rob a car wash customer — but getting a face full of water for his trouble — must stand trial for attempted robbery and a misdemeanor charge of using an imitation gun in a threatening manner, a judge ruled today.
Roth Steven Anderson, 24, of Lake Elsinore, could face more than six years in prison if convicted of the charges, which stem from a July 23 confrontation at a coin-operated car wash in Temecula.
During an hourlong preliminary hearing at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, the alleged victim and the Riverside County sheriff’s investigator who handled the case testified for the prosecution. The defense called no witnesses.
Superior Court Judge Kelly Hansen ruled at the end of the hearing that there was sufficient evidence to bound Anderson over for trial and left his bail set at $1 million. The defendant is being held at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.
A post-preliminary hearing arraignment in the case is scheduled for Dec. 20.
According to sheriff’s officials, on the afternoon of July 23, Anderson allegedly approached a man cleaning his vehicle in a wash bay in the 41900 of Moreno Road, brandishing what appeared to be a semiautomatic pistol.
The victim told deputies that the defendant allegedly demanded that he relinquish his wallet.
”The victim immediately reacted by spraying (Anderson) in the face with the high-pressure water hose being used to clean his vehicle,” according to a sheriff’s statement. ”The victim then ran around his vehicle in an attempt to avoid being shot. The suspect immediately turned away from the hose and fled on foot.”
Deputies were called to the scene, leading to a search of the surrounding area. Anderson was located a short time later at a nearby convenience store, purchasing cigarettes, sheriff’s officials said.
His wet clothes and a replica handgun were located stuffed in a backpack at a Denny’s restaurant across the street, according to investigators.
The defendant was on parole at the time of his arrest, according to jail records. Information on his two prior convictions was not immediately available.