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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on February 6th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 48 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 48

Santa Maria police officers called in at Pioneer Valley and Fesler schools

BY AMY ASMAN

Santa Maria police officers responded on Jan. 29 to reports of a man allegedly exposing himself to Pioneer Valley High School students as they walked to school.

According to department officials, officers searched a housing complex where the man was said to be located and the nearby area, but came up empty handed. The victims told police the man had a thin moustache and, at one point, wore a “Nacho Libre” wrestling mask.

Over the next few days, the department searched unsuccessfully for the suspect in the morning as students walked to the school.

Around 7:30 a.m. on Feb. 4, dispatch received another report of a man matching the same description exposing himself to people in the 900 block of North Seneca Street. Officers immediately responded to the call and apprehended the man after a short foot pursuit.

A witness and a victim of the previously reported crime positively identified 30-year-old Juan Mendoza, who was also discovered to have a wrestling mask in his possession.

Mendoza was booked at Santa Barbara County Jail on suspicion of indecent exposure and resisting arrest.

Any other possible victims are urged to contact the Santa Maria Police Department at 928-3781.

Also on Feb. 4, SMPD officers responded to a report of a group of juveniles possibly in possession of a rifle in the area of Main Street and Bradley Road heading toward Fesler Junior High School.

Administrators placed the school on lockdown as a precautionary measure while officers searched the area. However, they were unable to find any suspects; the area was deemed safe, and the lockdown was lifted.

The lockdown lasted approximately 40 minutes, according to Fesler Principal Brian Zimmerman.

“We prepare for these kinds of things. The students and staff know what to do,” Zimmerman told the Sun. “We review [lockdown procedure] at assemblies and in the classroom.”

A spokesperson for the police department couldn’t be reached as of press time.