RIVERSIDE (CNS) – One of two men accused of perpetrating a rash of burglaries throughout the Inland Empire and other parts of the region pleaded not guilty Friday to more than two dozen felony charges.
Lehman Frank Mitchell, 42, of Moreno Valley was arrested Tuesday following a two-month-long Riverside County Sheriff’s Department investigation.
Mitchell is charged with 11 counts of felony burglary, six counts of vandalism, five counts of grand theft, four counts of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and one count of being a felon in possession of ammunition.
He was arraigned before Superior Court Judge Gary Polk, who scheduled a felony settlement conference for June 22 at the Riverside Hall of Justice and ordered that the defendant be held on $220,000 bail at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta.
Mitchell’s co-defendant, 23-year-old Dache Kelly Jr. of Riverside, was arrested on June 9 and pleaded not guilty during an arraignment earlier this week to 10 counts of felony burglary, five counts of grand theft and four counts of vandalism.
Kelly, who is being held on $120,000 bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside, is slated to appear with Mitchell at the hearing next week.
According to sheriff’s Sgt. Josh Hephner, the defendants allegedly burglarized a business in the 28400 block of Old Town Front Street in Temecula on April 9.
The same Audi SUV that was seen coming and going from the establishment was connected to a break-in on May 22 in the 27300 block of Jefferson Avenue in Temecula, Hephner said.
Investigators ultimately traced the SUV to a residence on Perris Boulevard in Moreno Valley, culminating in Kelly’s arrest.
“During a search of the vehicle, deputies located multiple items of evidentiary value from the recent burglaries,” the sergeant said.
He said that further investigation led detectives to Mitchell, who was taken into custody without incident at a residence on 11th Street in Riverside.
“It was determined that both Kelly and Lehman were responsible for several other commercial burglaries throughout multiple counties in Southern California,” Hephner said.
Court records show Mitchell has a string of prior convictions, mainly for burglary, for which he has served time in state prison.
Kelly has no documented priors in Riverside County, though he does have convictions in another jurisdiction that weren’t listed in court documents. He also has several unresolved felony cases pending adjudication locally.
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