A McDonald’s manager suspected of robbing two of the fast-food franchises, including his own in Pleasanton, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to allegations he forced the employees of a San Mateo restaurant into a freezer before making off with some cash.
Prosecutors recently added three kidnapping charges to the case of Felix Jeronimo Gonzalez-Becerra, 42, which carries a potential life sentence.
Gonzalez-Becerra, of Oakland, is also charged with three counts each of second-degree robbery and false imprisonment.
After entering his not guilty plea yesterday, Gonzalez-Becerra was scheduled for jury trial May 27.
San Mateo police arrested Gonzalez-Becerra Sept. 2, 2013, after he was identified as the suspect in the robbery of the McDonald’s in the Laurelwood Shopping Center on the 1200 block of West Hillsdale Boulevard.
Employees said a man entered the restaurant around 10:30 p.m. with a face mask and gloves and what they believed to be a handgun but that turned out to be a replica. The robber forced the workers into the freezer and had one open the safe. He made off with an undisclosed amount of money but was apprehended when police officers responding to a broadcast description stopped his vehicle as it crossed the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge.
After his arrest, authorities tied him to an Aug. 28, 2013, robbery of a McDonald’s in Pleasanton that Gonzalez-Becerra managed. He is being prosecuted for that crime by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.
District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said although Gonzalez-Becerra allegedly moved the employees from one room to another space within the same building rather than an entirely new location the kidnapping charge “clearly qualifies” because of his “dangerous conduct.”
Gonzalez-Becerra returns to court for a conference May 6 prior to his jury trial and remains in custody without bail.
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