VAN NUYS -- A reputed gang member who worked with city anti-gang programs pleaded not guilty Tuesday to robbing a rapper in the musician's room at the Universal City Hilton.

Marlo Jones, 30, was arraigned Tuesday afternoon in Van Nuys Superior Court on one count each of robbery and burglary. A preliminary hearing was set for Jan. 26.

The criminal complaint alleges Jones, also known as "Bow Wow," committed the Jan. 5 crime to further a criminal street gang.

Jones had been listed as a contract employee with Unity One -- a subcontractor under the city of Los Angeles' L.A. Bridges II Gang Intervention program -- but he was immediately terminated from his position, authorities said.

Authorities said that Jones and several other people allegedly confronted Byron McCane -- also known as "Bizzy Bone" -- of the group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony in his hotel room, where the rapper was choked, then robbed of his jewelry.

Police are searching for other suspects.

Jones is on probation stemming from his no contest plea last November to one count of felony spousal abuse, according to the District Attorney's Office.

He also was convicted in 1996 of robbery and in 1999 of possession of cocaine, the District Attorney's Office reported.

Jones, who was arrested Saturday, is being held in lieu of $300,000 bail. If convicted as charged, Jones faces up to 28 years in state prison, according to the District Attorney's Office.