A San Diego man accused of stealing a friend's SUV in Point Loma after they attended a Narcotics Anonymous meeting together, who then allegedly tried to rob five people before leading an officer on a brief road and foot chase, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a half-dozen felony counts.
Dustin Spencer Totten, 24, allegedly got behind the wheel of his companion's black Nissan Xterra and sped away after the owner got out of the SUV at a gas station in the 2900 block of Rosecrans Street about 11 p.m. on June 27.
Totten drove off to the north as the victim reported the theft, San Diego Police Department public-affairs Lt. Andra Brown said.
About an hour later, the suspect allegedly tried to rob two women who were in a vehicle stopped at an intersection on Pomerado Road in Rancho Bernardo. The victims refused to comply, drove away and made an emergency call, Brown said.
Within 10 minutes of that attempted holdup, the suspect allegedly confronted a man and woman in a car on Rancho Bernardo Road and demanded money while pretending to be holding a gun underneath his sweat shirt. When the couple refused his orders to hand over money, the would-be thief got back into the Nissan, used it to ram their sedan and drove off, according to police.
Several minutes later, Totten allegedly made yet another failed robbery bid, this time outside a 7-Eleven on Carmel Mountain Road. When the man ignored his demand for cash and kept walking into the store, the suspect again smashed the Xterra into the victim's vehicle before driving away, Brown alleged.
About 12:30 p.m., a patrol officer spotted the stolen SUV at a fast-food restaurant in the 12300 block of Black Mountain Road and tried to pull Totten over. The suspect allegedly sped off once again and fled a short distance, then pulled over at an apartment complex in the 9400 block of Twin Trails Drive in Scripps Ranch, got out and tried in vain to escape on foot.
Totten -- who is out of custody on $50,000 bail -- is charged with unlawful taking and driving a vehicle, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and three counts of attempted robbery.
A readiness conference is set for Aug. 21 and a preliminary hearing for Sept. 11.
-City News Service