The man that Lathrop Police believe is responsible for at least two incidents of indecent exposure to minors near an elementary school might also be responsible for at least two others.
And possibly one in Manteca.
Esteban Diaz, a 29-year-old from Modesto, was arrested on Sept. 25 after a two-week investigation. Officers believe that he was responsible for an incident near Joseph Widmer Elementary School on Sept. 11, and that he could have been the man responsible for the rash of incidents that stretch back at least 18 months.
According to Lathrop Police Lieutenant James Hood, in at least four of the incidents the physical description of the man was accurate and similar to that of Diaz and leads them to believe that he may have been the one responsible. He has yet to be charged, and posted the $50,000 bond for his initial charge immediately after being booked in the San Joaquin County Jail.
It was the recollection by the victim of the vehicle he was driving, Hood said, that helped lead to his arrest.
“This is truly an example of community oriented policing at work,” Hood said. “A lot of times these events can be traumatizing to the victim but once we were able to get an ID on the vehicle we were able to look within the city and that’s what led us to him.
“He hasn’t been charged with any of the other crimes but it’s something that we’re investigating.”
It was a man that supposedly walked onto the Lathrop Elementary campus more than two years ago and exposed himself to a young girl in the bathroom that set the community ablaze with concern. And that’s when people started pulling up alongside children walking to and from school and exposing themselves.
The problem quickly spread to Manteca.
Over a five-day period in August of 2012, four men – each with different physical descriptions – exposed themselves to children in different parts of the community. Hood didn’t say whether that is the instance that Diaz may have been involved with and investigators are currently looking into. No local arrests were made in that case.