A homeless man who allegedly threatened a cyclist with a machete was in custody Tuesday after trying to swim away from authorities in Riverside's Santa Ana River.
James Embrey, 42, was arrested on suspicion of robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping and criminal threats.
Police said that just before 1 p.m. Sunday near the river bottom and Van Buren Boulevard, Embrey leapt out of the bushes at a group of passing cyclists and threatened one of them with a machete.
Embrey allegedly "stated he would kill the victim if he attempted to leave," then forced the cyclist to walk toward Van Buren Boulevard. Embrey also allegedly forced the victim to give him money.
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Police responded with a perimeter around the scene, bolstered by a police helicopter, the crew of which spotted Embrey trying to swim away from officers across the Santa Ana River.
Unable to get away, he eventually swam to the south shoreline and surrendered, police said. He was being held at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside without bail.