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Parolee to Stand Trial Over Robberies of Sex Shop Patrons

December 30, 1989|AMY LOUISE KAZMIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A state prison parolee was ordered Friday to stand trial on seven felony charges for allegedly robbing five sex bookstore patrons during a six-day crime spree in September, 1989.

Steven Vincent Price, 30, of Encino was charged with two counts of kidnaping for the purpose of robbery and five counts of robbery. If convicted on all counts, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole.

During a preliminary hearing in San Fernando Municipal Court Friday, five men identified Price as the man who robbed them at knifepoint. Several of the victims initially encountered him in one of two sex bookstores, Talk of the Valley Books or Le Sex Shoppe. Others said he surprised them in the parking lots.

All of the attacks occurred in the early morning hours between Sept. 4 and Sept. 10. Price had been paroled from state prison on Aug. 8, said Deputy Dist. Atty. David R. Lopez. Price had been serving time for a 1987 robbery, Lopez said.

Lopez said Price may have preyed on sex bookstore patrons because he thought they would be less likely to report the crime. But he said all five immediately notified police.

Lopez said the spree began outside the Talk of the Valley bookstore about 1 a.m. on Sept. 4, when Price followed an 18-year-old patron to his car, demanded the car keys at knifepoint and drove off.

The final attack occurred on Sept. 10, shortly after midnight, when Price woke up 62-year-old Frank Schifano, who was sleeping in the back of his car in the Talk of the Valley parking lot, Lopez said. At knifepoint, Lopez said, Price demanded that Schifano take money out of his bank account. Schifano testified that he was "scared for his life" and used his ATM card to give Price $200.

In the other cases, Lopez said, Price stole wallets, credit cards, and watches.

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