Man with meat cleaver arrested after downtown crime spree

SAN DIEGO — A transient was behind bars Tuesday on suspicion of threatening workers with a meat cleaver while trying to rob three Core-Columbia businesses in quick succession.

Richard Raymond Rivas, 53, allegedly carried out the non-injury spate of would-be heists in the 500 block of C Street over a several-minute period beginning about 4 p.m. Monday, according to San Diego police.

“The suspect entered three businesses in the area and attempted to take merchandise from each establishment without paying,” Officer John Buttle alleged. “When employees confronted the suspect … he produced a large meat cleaver and threatened (them).”

About five minutes after getting the first emergency call about the robberies, patrol officers located Rivas in the 1200 block of A Street and arrested him without incident.

Rivas, who told officers he lives at an East Village homeless shelter, was booked into San Diego Central Jail on suspicion of assault, robbery, burglary and exhibiting a deadly weapon in a threatening manner.

He was being held on $50,000 bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.