Hearing held on Safeway robbery | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Hearing held on Safeway robbery

Christina Proctor

Prosecutors are moving to combine the cases of three South Lake Tahoe men arrested in connection with a December strong-armed robbery at Safeway.

Aldwin L. Filoteo, 23, who turned himself in to authorities after learning of a warrant for his arrest, was held to answer to robbery charges in El Dorado Superior Court.

At a preliminary hearing Thursday, South Lake Tahoe police officer Alex Pieters testified that Safeway security guards saw three males enter the store and walk to the liquor aisle. One of the males placed a bottle of cognac in the front waistband of his pants and then left the store without paying for the bottle.

Security guards followed them out of the store and a fight broke out, Pieters said. One of the males broke free and ran off with handcuffs attached to his wrist. Pieters said a reliable informant identified Filoteo as the suspect who escaped. Filoteo was reportedly displaying the handcuffs around town and bragging about the incident.

A guard who was injured during the fight identified Filoteo in a photo lineup. The other guard couldn’t identify Filoteo and told police he did not get a good look at the third suspect. Pieters said the missing handcuffs were never recovered.

Apolinario Sumampong, 24, a co-defendant in the case who was arrested at the scene, reportedly told police that Filoteo never entered the store with him and the third suspect. Sumampong and Joseph Arellano, 24, both pleaded not guilty to the robbery charges at the Feb. 2 arraignment. A trial date is set for May 12 in Superior Court.

The injured guard had to undergo knee reconstructive surgery after the incident, prosecutors said.

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