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A Fallbrook man accused of sexually assaulting two women during a series of “hot prowl” burglaries — during which the criminal enters a home while the occupant is inside — pleaded not guilty to seven felony charges, including assault with intent to commit rape.

Michael Anthony Espinoza, 22, was ordered held on $1.4 million bail.

Sheriff’s deputies said a woman called 911 to report that a man came inside her Alturas Road apartment near Ammunition Road about 2:35 a.m. Wednesday.

While deputies searched for the intruder, a woman started screaming in a nearby apartment. She later told deputies that a man tried to sexually assault her while she was in bed with her husband, authorities said.

A deputy spotted a man matching the description of the intruder running from the apartment complex and detained him, sheriff’s officials said.

Another deputy investigating a “hot prowl” burglary a few blocks away interviewed a 62-year-old woman who said a man sexually assaulted her in her bed.

After Espinoza was arrested, deputies found property that linked him to another break-in, authorities said.

Officials said that in all the burglaries, the apartment doors were unlocked.

Espinoza — who faces two life terms in prison if convicted — will be back in court Dec. 14 for a readiness conference and Dec. 16 for a preliminary hearing.

— City News Service

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