If there are stints of boredom, police work also can be fascinating in Orange County, CA. Take the Jan. 28 Costa Mesa incident where firefighters were attempting to locate the source of smoke and the smell of burning plastic in a residential community. A crew from Eagle, the police helicopter for the city, arrived and, using heat-sensitive surveillance equipment, found a "hot spot" in the rear of a condo off 18th Street near Pomona Avenue, according to police records. Incredibly, the occupants were burning their BBQ on top of a television.
But the case of Charles Edward Meaux Jr. is one for the record books. One day before the BBQ lunacy, Meaux--a 36-year-old convicted felon with reported ties to a white supremacist group--got on the roof of a stranger's two-story residence just feet from southbound Interstate 5 near the Main Street overpass in Santa Ana, stripped down to his white socks and white shoes, climbed a ladder and, facing one of the busiest thoroughfares in the nation at lunchtime, began masturbating in full view of traffic. The cops were called, Eagle helicopter responded and ended the show by orbiting several times around the spectacle.
"The guy was standing on the ladder with one hand holding the ladder and the other one, well, the other hand was busy," Chief Eagle Pilot Jeff Van Es recounted at a police meeting this morning. "He saw us and fled the roof, but he grabbed only his shirt. He actually left his pants and underwear before he tried to escape into the neighborhood."
Santa Ana police later found Meaux hiding in the closet of a nearby residence owned by a couple with a baby. He stood behind a row of hanging clothes, but because he was still pants-less, officers had no problem discovering him when they opened the closet door.
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"I don't think this guy is completely stable," said Van Es.
For his show, Meaux faces indecent exposure, disorderly conduct, burglary and resisting a cop. From 1998 to 2009, he was convicted in Orange County on a variety of charges: burglary, theft, loitering with the intent to sale narcotics, resisting cops, trespassing and making criminal threats.
Deputy District Attorney Randy Pawloski told me that because Meaux has two prior strikes, he potentially faces a maximum sentence of 37 years to life in prison if he is convicted of all pending charges.
--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly