MURRIETA – A probationer accused of robbing a Murrieta sandwich shop, then heading to a nearby casino to gamble, pleaded not guilty today to robbery.
Juan Jose Castillo, 28, was arrested in December after allegedly holding up the Submarine Sandwich Shop at 33040 Antelope St.
Along with the robbery count, Castillo is charged with possession of illegal drugs. The defendant was arraigned at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, where he appeared before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Timothy Freer, who scheduled a felony settlement conference in the case for April 29.
Castillo remains free on $30,000 bail.
According to Murrieta police, around 6:15 p.m. last Dec. 4, the convicted felon approached an employee at the sandwich shop in a threatening manner, demanding money.
The victim complied, handing over an undisclosed amount of cash, after which Castillo fled the location in a gray Nissan Armada, Lt. Tony Conrad alleged.
He said officers arrived within minutes and immediately began searching for the car, which was found abandoned near the intersection of Menifee and Scott roads.
Based on evidence collected at the shop and from the vehicle, detectives identified Castillo. According to Conrad, the defendant was located the following afternoon — on his 28th birthday — inside the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula.
While searching him, detectives found a small quantity of methamphetamine and a hypodermic needle in Castillo’s pockets, Conrad alleged. The defendant was taken into custody without incident.
According to court records, he has prior convictions for possession of controlled substances, disturbing the peace, reckless driving and driving under the influence.