SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — An illegal immigrant from Peru, who police say stalked his female victims outside of San Francisco bars and nightclubs during the early morning hours, pleaded not guilty Thursday to rape, kidnapping and weapons charges.
Orlando Vilchez Lazo, 36, is being held in San Francisco County jail without bail in the attacks which date back to Nov. 2013. He plead not guilty to 12 felony charges, including the alleged rapes in the attacks on the four female victims, kidnapping three of them and threatening them with a deadly weapon.
He was stoic during his court appearance. Even when his lawyer announced that his family members were present to show support, he didn’t turn around or even move
Vilchez’s wife, brother and nephew were in the courtroom, but none would comment after the arraignment.
“We want to fight this case in the courtroom, and not in the media,” said Vilchez’s attorney, public defender Sandy Feinland.
Investigators say Vilchez lured the women into his car by claiming to be a rideshare driver. His vehicle displayed both Lyft and Uber sticker. Uber says Vilchez never drove for the service, but Lyft said he did work for them.
Court filings state the victims were so intoxicated, three of them passed out or fell asleep in Vilchez’s car
That fact will likely be a part of his defense.
“Three of the four complaining witnesses were unable to make an identification,” said Feinland.
Even so, the San Francisco District Attorney’s office is confident they have the right man.
“That’s why this defendant is charged; because we have the evidence necessary to charge him,” said San Francisco District Attorney spokesman Alex Bastian.
Feinland says Vilchez denies committing any crime
“He’s maintained his innocence and the constitution entitles him to the presumption of innocence and to his day in court,” said his attorney.
In court documents, investigators said three of his attacks targeted women who were outside the Temple Bar in San Francisco’s South Of Market neighborhood. The fourth attack was of a woman who was picked up outside of Virgil’s Sea Room in the Mission.
In the newly released documents, details are reveal on all four attacks.
In November 2013, police said Vilchez picked up a woman at a bar called Virgil’s Sea Room in the Mission. She was drunk and fell asleep in his car. She woke up in a parking lot near warehouses and told him this wasn’t where she wanted to go.
He started kissing her and eventually raped her. Afterward he got back behind the wheel.
The woman told him if he took her home, she wouldn’t tell anyone what happened. He drove her home and the victim went to the hospital and filed a police report.
There was then apparently a five-year break between that attack and the next crime Vilchez is accused of committing. However, law enforcement experts believe there could be additional incidents they haven’t learned about yet.
“What happened to him in those five years if he wasn’t gone and he wasn’t arrested?” asked former Oakland police chief and KPIX 5 law enforcement analyst Howard Jordan. “He may have had multiple victims. We don’t know actually how many there are so far.”
In February of this year, a woman who had been drinking with friends decided to go home, leaving the Temple Bar at about midnight. Vilchez allegedly drove her to a secluded location and got into the backseat and raped her before driving her home. The victim told her roommates what happened and called police.
In May, Vilchez again allegedly targeted a woman leaving the Temple Bar. This time the victim got into his car at about 1 a.m. The victim said he drove her to a secluded location where he got into the backseat and threatened her with a knife before raping her. Afterward he also drove her home.
In June, Vilchez allegedly targeted his fourth victim, another woman who once again left Temple Bar at about 1 a.m.
She fell asleep in his car and woke up thinking her hands were wet. She realized Vilchez was in the backseat with her and the wetness on her hands was her own blood. She had been trying to fend off the knife with her hands. He assaulted her and tried to rape her, but the victim was able to open the car’s door and run away.
She found a house in the area that looked safe. The people there took her in and called police.