A 43-year-old man is being held in lieu of $1 million bail for allegedly victimizing females who live in the 1000 block of Minnie Street in Santa Ana, including a 12-year-old girl who was fondled through a window.
Leonel Santana Cervantes, who resides a quarter-mile away from the victims, could spend 30 years in state prison if he is convicted of the various charges filed against him. Investigators are also seeking others Cervantes may have preyed upon.
Around 12:15 a.m. on July 8, a man climbed into an apartment through an open window, making a noise that alarmed the 42-year-old woman living there. Checking on the noise, she saw the man go into the bedroom where her 19-year-old daughter and boys ages 6 and 8 were sleeping and close the door behind him. The mother tried to open the door, but the man pushed his weight against it to keep it closed. She was finally able to bust in, and the man fled out the front door. A report was made to the Santa Ana Police Department.
A 12-year-old girl was sleeping in her bed under a window without a screen in the same neighborhood about 4:45 a.m. on Aug. 5 when a man reached inside and rubbed her buttocks and back over her clothing. She screamed for her father, and the stranger split. The father immediately called Santa Ana police.
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Finally, around 4 a.m. last Thursday, a 31-year-old woman who lives on the same street came home from work, turned on her bedroom light and started undressing. Through a window facing an alley, she could see a man looking back at her. She called police, and a man was found in the alley hiding behind a dumpster.
He was later identified as Cervantes, who is charged with two felony counts of first degree residential burglary of an inhabited dwelling, one felony count of lewd acts on a child under 14, one misdemeanor count of peeking, and a sentencing enhancement allegation for committing lewd acts on a child in the commission of a residential burglary.
Currently stewing in Santa Ana Jail, Cervantes has a continued arraignment hearing scheduled there on Dec. 16.
Meanwhile, if you believe he's victimized you or someone you know, contact Supervising District Attorney Investigator Lou Gutierrez at 714.347.8794 or Santa Ana Police Detective Eddie Nunez at 714. 245.8357.