Fresno police are paying for extra space in the Fresno County Jail so that a man they say repeatedly exposes himself in public will stay in custody until he stands trial.
The man was identified as Robert Chavez, 41.
Chavez has been arrested two times in three incidents in the past week for exposing himself at two separate businesses, Lt. Joe Gomez said Wednesday.
The Fresno County Jail is subject to a court order that limits jail capacity, and the order mandates that inmates be released as the jail approaches maximum capacity of 3,291 inmates.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Chavez would not be considered a more high-risk, dangerous offender under the release process, so he would be back on the street before those charged with offenses that include dangerous and violent felonies.
But the Fresno Police Department pays for several jail spaces not subject to the jail's release system, and Gomez said Chavez will be placed in one of them.
According to Gomez, Chavez was arrested on Thursday after he went to A U Neek Boo Teek near Blackstone and Gettysburg, reached inside his pants and grabbed his penis, frightening a female manager. She pushed a panic button to summon police and called 911. She also armed herself with Mace and yelled at Chavez to leave, which he did.
He came back Sunday and thrust his hands in his pants and made lewd comments to a clerk and a customer. The clerk grabbed a large stick and ordered him out of the store and he left again. The victims identified Chavez, who was arrested for similar crimes in Pinedale in 2017.
Gomez said he detained Chavez on Tuesday near the Fresno Family Counseling Center in the 5100 block of North Palm Avenue, where an employee reported that Chavez pulled down his pants in front of her. The employee fled the front desk, and went to an office where she and her supervisor called police.
Chavez was arrested on indecent exposure charges and booked into the jail. He was released Tuesday evening as a $5,000 warrant was being issued in connection with one of the A U Neek Boo Teek cases.
Just before noon, Gomez said he saw Chavez walking at West and Indianapolis avenues and arrested him on the warrant.
Fresno County Sheriff's spokesman Tony Botti said releases from the jail begin once the population reaches 90 percent of capacity and go in order from the least to the most serious types of offenses, which are divided into 11 separate levels.
Fresno police began to pay the county for jail space several years ago after auto theft suspects were repeatedly released following arrests by the department's auto theft team.