Man Admits Carjacking Motorist, Forcing Him to Drive Over 25 Miles

City News Service Pristine Villarreal

MURRIETA (CNS) – A 29-year-old man who abducted a Lake Elsinore motorist at gunpoint and forced the victim to drive him over 25 miles before letting him go pleaded guilty Thursday to carjacking.

Jerry Frias Tolentino of Menifee admitted the felony count under a plea agreement with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office. In exchange for the admission, prosecutors agreed to drop two related counts, as well as sentence-enhancing gun use allegations.

Superior Court Judge John Monterosso scheduled a sentencing hearing for May 8 at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta and ordered that Tolentino remain held in lieu of $1 million bail at the nearby Byrd Detention Center.

According to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, the defendant confronted the victim, whose identity was not disclosed, in the area of Railroad Canyon Road and Summerhill Drive shortly before 8 a.m. on April 21, 2022.

Sgt. Jeff Reese said that Tolentino flashed a handgun and ordered the man to head north, though the specific route wasn’t provided.

Reese said the victim followed Tolentino’s commands, driving him to Corona, where the defendant got out of the car and left on foot, heading in an unknown direction.

The driver, who was not injured, contacted sheriff’s deputies, providing details that they used to initiate a search and alert surrounding law enforcement agencies, culminating in the defendant being located and taken into custody without incident on North Lemon Street in the city of Orange the following day, according to the sergeant.

Tolentino has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.

Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.

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