SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The alleged "Be Cool Bandit," who is accused of carrying out a series of armed heists earlier this year in different parts of San Diego County, must stand trial on 10 robbery charges, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Elvin Vincent Foster Jr., 45, remains in custody in lieu of $750,000 bail. He faces a maximum of 35 years and eight months in prison if convicted.
After a daylong preliminary hearing, Judge Laura Parsky ruled that enough evidence was presented for the defendant to stand trial Dec. 12.
At Foster's arraignment in July, Deputy District Attorney James Koerber alleged that the defendant entered gas stations and convenience stores and displayed what looked like a semi-automatic weapon. The robber was given the "Be Cool" moniker because he spoke those words to one of his victims, Koerber said.
National City police Detective Wade Walters testified that Foster said "Just be cool, be cool" to one of his alleged victims.
The "Be Cool" robberies took place between May 3 and July 23 in San Diego, El Cajon and National City.
Larry Armstrong, who worked as a clerk at a 7-Eleven store in El Cajon, said a man later identified as Foster ordered him to empty two cash registers about 1:50 a.m. on June 4.
As he was leaving the store, the robber dropped some change and bent over to scoop it up, Armstrong testified.
"He said, 'I'm sorry, but I'm poor," the witness testified.
Authorities said fingerprint and DNA evidence taken from some of the crime scenes led them to Foster. Several items that allegedly connect him to some of the robberies -- including a red, white and blue jacket and a gray beanie -- were recovered after his arrest, and a BB gun was recovered from the trunk of Foster's car, detectives said.
San Diego police Detective Maria Estrella testified that Foster was cooperative and remorseful when he was interviewed.
Foster has an extensive criminal record, including a 1989 conviction for robbery, Koerber said.
The defendant was out on bail on a grand theft case in El Cajon when he allegedly committed the recent series of "Be Cool" robberies.
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