An investment broker accused of using a slingshot to smash windows of cars and businesses in Beverly Hills and along Ventura Boulevard pleaded not guilty Friday to nearly a dozen felony charges.
Michael Steven Poret, 58, of Encino, was charged Sept. 18 with six counts of vandalism, five counts of weapons possession and one count of possession of methamphetamine, according to the District Attorney's Office.
One of the weapons-possession charges is a misdemeanor, according to prosecutors. All the other counts are felonies.
Poret was initially stopped July 3 by a Beverly Hills police sergeant on routine patrol who became suspicious when he saw a dark colored Toyota Camry without license plates, authorities said. When the driver parked the car in the 700 block of North Linden Drive, the sergeant made contact with Poret, according to Beverly Hills Police Department Lt. Lincoln Hoshino.
As the sergeant was talking to Poret about the car's lack of license plates, a police dispatcher reported that an act of vandalism had just occurred in the 700 block of North Roxbury Drive. The sergeant became suspicious because of a slingshot on the driver's floorboard, Hoshino said.
Poret was arrested and was immediately suspected in more than 20 other acts of vandalism, police said.
According to Beverly Hills police, numerous slingshots, slingshot ammunition, projectiles, knives, switchblades and throwing stars were found in Poret's car.
Poret was released on bail, but he was arrested July 12 by Los Angeles police in connection with the alleged smashing of windows in the San Fernando Valley. He was released the same day on $60,000 bail.
Prosecutors said he allegedly caused between $65,000 and $125,000 worth of damage in dozens of acts of vandalism between Jan. 27 and July 3.
He faces up to 10 years and eight months behind bars if convicted, according to the District Attorney's Office.