A man who was wearing a Barbie costume when he allegedly attacked a victim in a women’s restroom at a Big Lots store was ordered Monday to stand trial on four felony charges, including assault with intent to commit rape and false imprisonment by violence.
Gregory Phillip Schwartz, 41, faces more than seven years in prison if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Mary-Ellen Barrett.
The victim, identified in San Diego Superior Court as Susan, testified that she went into the women’s restroom in the Big Lots store on Clairemont Drive the afternoon of Feb. 28 and noticed a man’s bare feet in the next stall.
She said she looked up and saw the man peering over the top of the stall. Before she knew it, he was trying to crawl under her stall. She screamed, then the man put his hand around her neck and pushed her toward the wall. She noticed he was wearing pink.
“He was wearing jeans and a Barbie costume,” she said, adding that the defendant told her to “shush” and put his other hand over her mouth.
The woman testified that the defendant pointed toward his belt, and she decided at that point that she would rather fight. She said she was able to push the defendant away, run out of the restroom and notify store employees.
San Diego police Detective Carmelin Rivera said surveillance video shows Schwartz going into the men’s restroom at 2:42 p.m. and staying there for more than 90 minutes before going into the women’s restroom, wearing the pink Barbie costume.
He’s then seen running out of the women’s restroom and returning to the men’s restroom.
Rivera testified that a woman sitting in her car in a nearby parking lot said a man matching the description of the defendant had opened her car door earlier in the day and asked if she wanted to smoke some methamphetamine.
Another police officer testified that a Big Lots manager told him the store was missing a pair of shoes and two pink Barbie costumes designed for 8-year-old girls.
Schwartz was arrested March 2 in the area of Clairemont Mesa Boulevard and Diane Avenue.
Barrett said Schwartz was on probation for two misdemeanor convictions, including one for drugs.
Judge Frederic Link ruled that enough evidence was presented to proceed to trial. Schwartz must appear in court again Aug. 25.
– City News Service