In what Sheriff's deputies call “good work and observation,” a family of Fallbrook residents worked together to get a Peeping Tom off the streets.
On Thursday, March 25, Viviana Campos, a 30-year-old Fallbrook resident living near the 500 block of Porter Street, noticed a suspicious individual looking into her neighbor's window at approximately noon.
Campos alerted her husband, Cesar Campos, 31, who went outside to confront the individual, who ran down the street before Cesar could reach him.
The Campos' alerted their neighbor, a single mother with four children, about the Peeping Tom, and she immediately called the police to file a report.
At approximately 6 a.m. on March 26, Viviana saw the perpetrator once again peeking into her neighbor's window. Her husband gave chase, but lost the individual.
“We knew that our neighbor didn't know this man,” said Viviana. “He would pace back and forth and we could tell he was working up the nerve to do something. I had seen the man walking on our street before, but had never put two and two together. From where he was standing, he could easily see into [our neighbor's bathroom window], and he was standing there about the same time as when she showers.”
The Campos family decided to take matters into their own hands, said Viviana.
“Our entire family was involved,” she said. “My father-in-law, mother-in-law, husband, sister-in-law, and I began working to catch [the Peeping Tom].”
The family spent the whole weekend driving their vehicles around their neighborhood, keeping an eye out for the individual.
On the early morning of March 29, the family's hard work paid off.
“I saw him out there again in the morning, and my husband chased him down the street,” said Viviana. “Luckily my father-in-law, Tomas, was patrolling the street in his car and helped chase [the suspect], but he ran through bushes and got away from them. While we called the police, my sister-in-law, Sonia, who was also patrolling the area in her car, found the man on Dougherty Street, called the police and began honking and yelling.”
Viviana said the suspect approached Sonia's car, and began yelling at her, telling her to leave him alone. Instead, Sonia reached out to try and grab the man, who was then tackled by Tomas and Cesar.
The men pinned the suspect until deputies arrived on the scene.
“My husband [Cesar] broke his arm during the tackle,” said Viviana.
According to Sheriff's detective Dan Laibach, the suspect, Pablo Mendoza, is a 35-year-old Hispanic male who lives on North Orange Street, and had no priors to this arrest.
Mendoza told Laibach that he “had an impulse” to look into the victim's window.
Mendoza was booked into the Vista jail on one count of peeping into an inhabited dwelling and one count of annoying and molesting a child.
“There is a young girl who gets ready at the same time as her mother in that home,” explained Laibach. “He may have seen her showering, since she and her mother showered at about the same time.”
Laibach said he was impressed with the Campos family.
“This was good work, observation and foot pursuit,” said Laibach. “We may just have to have them chase down other bad guys for us.”