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McDonald's manager pleads not guilty to robbery, kidnapping

The manager of a Bay Area McDonald's has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and robbery after police said he confessed to robbing the restaurant he runs, prosecutors said.

Felix Jeronimo Gonzalez-Becerra, 42, of Oakland is the manager of the Pleasanton McDonald's on Pimlico Drive and confessed to robbing his own restaurant and another in the franchise, police said.

About 3 a.m. on Aug. 28, Gonzalez-Becerra went up to the restaurant wearing white gloves and a full face mask and was armed with "what appeared to be a small-caliber revolver," according to a news bulletin from the Pleasanton Police Department.

"The suspect forced three employees into the office and demanded money from the safe. Once the safe was open, the suspect ordered the employees into the freezer and told them not to come out for 30 minutes," according to the bulletin. It was unclear how much cash was taken.

Police said he  then allegedly robbed another McDonalds in San Mateo about 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 2.

"The suspect forced employees into a freezer and forced one employee to open the safe at gunpoint. No one was injured, and the suspect fled with an undisclosed amount of cash," according to a joint news release from the San Mateo and Pleasanton police departments. 

But after the robbery, an officer spotted the suspect's vehicle as it was going toward the San Mateo Bridge.

The driver was arrested and police seized allegedly stolen cash and a backpack and hoodie worn by the suspect. A replica handgun was also seized, according to a news release.

The Pleasanton Police Department said Gonzalez-Becerra "provided a full confession" to the robbery in San Mateo and later confessed to robbing the Pleasanton McDonald's.

Gonzalez-Becerra appeared in San Mateo County Superior Court on Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to three counts of robbery, three counts of kidnapping for the purpose of robbery and three counts of false imprisonment, said San Mateo District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, according to KTVU-TV in San Francisco.

He was being held without bail and was scheduled to return to court Oct. 9 to set a date for a preliminary hearing.

He was to be charged separately in the Pleasanton case.

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ari.bloomekatz@latmes.com

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