A 25-year-old man who allegedly entered a Palm Springs Walmart bathroom stall occupied by a teenager and committed a sex act in front of her was charged Friday with attempted lewd acts on a minor, burglary, false imprisonment, indecent exposure and child annoyance.
Tyler Ray Berthoud, of Oak Hills in San Bernardino County, was arrested Wednesday afternoon at the Walmart, 5601 Ramon Road, after several store patrons and employees restrained him upon leaving the bathroom, according to Palm Springs Sgt. William Hutchinson.
According to Hutchinson, the suspect stuck his head underneath the bottom of a stall in the women’s restroom while the victim, a 13-year-old girl, was inside. Berthoud allegedly entered the stall and masturbated in front of her, but did not physically harm or molest the girl, as was reported by some witnesses on social media, the sergeant said.
Witnesses heard the girl screaming and Berthoud was apprehended by a group of people after he left the bathroom.
Hutchinson called Berthoud a "brazen, dangerous individual" and "someone we don’t want in this community or any community for that matter."
Court records show he recently stood trial in Indio on misdemeanor sexual battery and child annoyance charges in a case out of Wildomar, in which he was accused of trying to pick up two teenage girls at an area McDonald’s, then following a woman into her apartment complex and grabbing her buttocks.
A jury found him guilty on the child annoyance count, according to court records, and he additionally pleaded guilty Tuesday to misdemeanor counts of sexual battery and being under the influence of controlled substances.
He was sentenced to a one-year county jail term, but had already accumulated enough time credit served to secure his release Tuesday, though he was required to register as a sex offender. He was released from the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning, and was arrested by Palm Springs police the following day.
Berthoud, who’s being held in lieu of $1,000,000 bail, is slated to be arraigned Monday morning.