High-Risk Sex Offender Arrested in Repeated Indecent Exposure Incidents on Buses: OCSD

A 37-year-old high-risk sex offender was arrested this week on suspicion of committing multiple indecent exposure incidents on Orange County buses, authorities announced Thursday.

Stephen Ponte Garcia is shown in a booking photo released by OCSD on Oct. 20, 2016.

Stephen Ponte Garcia is shown in a booking photo released by OCSD on Oct. 20, 2016.

Stephen Ponte Garcia was arrested Tuesday on a warrant obtained after a three-week investigation, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said.

An anonymous tip about a man exposing himself on a bus came in to the Orange County Transportation Authority last month, prompting the investigation.

With the help of bus surveillance video, Garcia was identified by investigators as the man who — at least four times — sat at the rear of the bus and exposed himself to female passengers, a sheriff’s news release stated.

Investigators at one point followed Garcia, who proceeded to go to his parole office, authorities said. He usually rode the bus in Anaheim, Santa Ana and the city of Orange.

He never spoke to other passengers or tried to make contact with him, sheriff's Lt. Mike Jensen said.

Deputies suspect there may be additional victims of crimes committed by Garcia. Only one victim has come forward.

OCSD released this image Oct. 20, 2016, saying it showed Stephen Ponte Garcia on a bus.

OCSD released this image Oct. 20, 2016, saying it showed Stephen Ponte Garcia on a bus.

Garcia, whom the Sheriff’s Department identified as a sex offender, was booked on suspicion of indecent exposure. Due in court Thursday, Garcia is not eligible for bail.

He has a long record of previous arrests and convictions, Orange County court records show.

In March 2015, he was sentenced to three years in state prison after pleading guilty in multiple cases, including two felony indecent exposure incidents with prior offenses.

Those crimes occurred in May and November 2014, according to Orange County court records. He also pleaded guilty to petty theft in a July 2014 crime, and disorderly conduct in a May 2014 crime.

Two indecent exposure charges against him in April 2014 were dismissed at the time that three-year sentence was issued last year. It’s not clear how much time in state prison Garcia actually served.

In March 2014, he pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary and petty theft.

And in 2006, he pleaded guilty to indecent exposure, receiving a sentence of nine months in jail and five years of probation. He was twice sentenced to several months in jail for violating his probation.

Garcia does not appear to be listed on the state's Megan's Law website that identifies registered sex offenders. Jensen said Garcia is not listed because his convictions are not for violent offenses.