2 of 3 men accused in South Bay vandalism spree plead not guilty

Windows on parked vehicles shattered

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - Two of three men accused in a South Bay spree of vandalism that left scores of parked vehicles with shattered windows and a pedestrian with a minor injury from a pellet gun pleaded not guilty Wednesday to felony charges, including vandalism and assault with a deadly weapon.

Hector Cordova, 19, and Arturo Martinez, 21, were each ordered held on $150,000 bail and face six years and eight months in prison if convicted.

Chula Vista police Capt. Gary Wedge said a total of 89 vehicles were damaged during the rampage, and a man walking along East Prospect Street was shot in the shoulder with a BB, though the pedestrian did not require medical care.

The man was too afraid to be identified, but last Monday, he told 10News reporter Itica Milanes how things could have been so much worse.

"I'm just really happy to be alive that I was struck with a bb gun and not an actual firearm," he said.

Witnesses, including the assault victim, described seeing the perpetrators fleeing in a Chevrolet Astro.

About 4:30 a.m. Sunday, a patrolman spotted a van matching the suspect vehicle parked at McCandliss Park on East J Street. Inside it was an air-powered pellet pistol and two canisters of BBs, the captain said. The officer detained three men standing nearby and took them in for questioning.

Two of the suspects, Cordova, of Chula Vista and Martinez, of San Diego, allegedly confessed to taking part in the offenses. The third apparently had no involvement and was released.

Another suspect, Alan Casanova, 19, was arrested Wednesday morning for allegedly taking part in the auto-vandalism series and assault, which took place throughout Chula Vista over a four-day period late last month, according to police.

Casanova, a Chula Vista resident, also was wanted for an alleged probation violation, according to police. The case against Casanova remains under investigation and no charges have been filed yet, said Deputy District Attorney Steve Schott.

Wedge said, "The fear and the concern and the financial impact it has on the victims … so these arrests show that we do take this seriously."

A bail review is scheduled for Oct. 15 with a readiness conference set for Oct. 17. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 23.

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