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Youth baseball team helps catch 'peeping Tom'

March 23, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A man accused of being a "peeping tom" at a McDonald's in Torrance was busted by a youth baseball team.The Red Sox played catch before Tuesday's game, just 48 hours after the group of 11- and 12-year-olds from the Torrance American Baseball League helped police catch a man suspected of peeping under stalls in a woman's restroom at McDonald's.

"It makes me feel proud that this group of us all helped catch this guy who's done really nasty things," team member Nick Robinson said.

The Red Sox were at practice on Sunday when police officers warned the players and parents of a man who was seen on surveillance video following a woman into the restroom at the McDonald's just yards away from the field. Just 30 minutes later, the team spotted the suspect police warned them about.

"We all started yelling," team member Jeremy Kruger said. "Then a couple of the dads started chasing him.

Another player, Manfred Schaub, said he was worried about what the man might do.

"I was a little afraid that he was armed and he had a weapon and could hurt us," Schaub said.

The parents of the players took off after the suspected "peeping tom" and helped police arrest him.

"All of us dads kind of took off after him," Little League coach Larry Kruger said. "Unfortunately we had to get around a long gate, so he had a pretty good head start. Another one of our dads jumped in his SUV and chased him down."

One of the player's parents, Ray Tanori, says he was able to talk to the 911 operator and tell authorities exactly where the suspect was.

Thirty-three-year-old Manuel Dejesus Garcia was arrested a short time later. He is accused of peeping under woman's restroom stalls at least three times at the same McDonald's location.

"Three times it's been reported to us that he's done the same thing at the same location, the third time was the one we caught him," Torrance Police Sgt. J. Hart said. "He also has numerous prior arrests in surrounding cities for the same thing.

Torrance police are thankful for the brave parents and very alert group of Little Leaguers.

"I felt happy that we all worked together to get him," Schaub said.

Manuel Dejesus Garcia was arraigned on Tuesday and pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge. He must spend 20 days in jail and has been placed on summary probation for three years.