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 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.
“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
R. Scott Moxley’s award-winning investigative journalism has touched nerves for two decades. An angry congressman threatened to break Moxley’s knee caps. A dirty sheriff promised his critical reporting was irrelevant and then landed in prison. The U.S. House of Representatives debated his work. Federal prosecutors credited his stories for the arrest of a doctor who sold fake medicine to dying patients. Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; and hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing Southern California law enforcement corruption.