BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A convicted sex offender accused of kidnapping and attempting to sexually assault a woman walking alone on Ming Avenue had his preliminary hearing pushed back two weeks.
Sergio Venegas appeared in court Wednesday but his scheduled hearing was postponed because prosecutor Samantha Allen is in trial. His public defender, Sabrina Harowitz, objected to the delay but Judge David Zulfa found good cause to continue the proceeding.
The hearing, now set for June 13, was given a time estimate of two hours but is expected to finish earlier.
Venegas, 59, is held without bail and has pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping to commit robbery or rape, assault with intent to commit a sex act, robbery and resisting arrest.
On the night of May 2, a woman reported she was walking home in the 4600 block of Ming Avenue when a man appeared from behind an electrical transformer, dragged her behind bushes and attempted to sexually assault her while threatening her with a knife, police said. She managed to fight him off and get away but he stole several items, including an Apple Watch.
The woman ran to a nearby business and called police. Tracking the watch’s location through the woman’s cellphone, police came across Venegas riding a bike on South Real Road near Sampson Court, according to reports filed in Superior Court.
There was a brief chase after which officers arrested Venegas and found the watch and other stolen items in his possession, the reports say.
Labeled the “Supermarket Rapist,” Venegas was suspected but never charged in five rapes that occurred in 1988 and 1989 where women were attacked while walking alone in grocery store parking lots.
He served decades in prison for raping a woman at the Red Lion Inn in 1989. He became the first person convicted in Kern County through the use of DNA evidence.