A 73-year-old man who harassed multiple women at a Grantville shopping center over the course of several years was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to undergo therapy, the San Diego City Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.
On at least six separate occasions between 2018 and 2020, Orlando Joseph Chavez approached women in the parking lot of a strip mall on Friars Road, then crawled beneath the women’s vehicles under the guise of examining an apparent fluid leak, prosecutors said.
Once beneath the victims’ vehicles, he would not come out, effectively preventing the women from being able to leave, prosecutors said.
According to the City Attorney’s Office, one of the incidents occurred in the presence of an off-duty San Diego police officer. After the officer ordered him to come out from beneath the car, Chavez told him he wasn’t doing anything wrong, got into his truck and drove away, according to prosecutors.
On another occasion, the City Attorney’s Office alleges he grabbed a woman by the arm. When the woman’s supervisor came over to help, Chavez told them, “You girls are so pretty and should come with me,” court documents state.
One woman who worked at the shopping center was approached on three separate occasions, with Chavez following the woman into her workplace and asking for her when she ignored him the third time. He was also investigated for allegedly stalking another woman for nearly two years and slashing the tires on her husband’s car.
Chavez later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor false imprisonment count. Along with probation, he was ordered to enroll in a stalking treatment program and to stay away from the shopping center’s parking lot.
“Stalking behavior like this can lead to tragic results. We commend the victims for reporting these incidents of harassment,” City Attorney Mara W. Elliott said. “We appreciate that they trusted us to take their complaints seriously and to hold this serial offender accountable for his bizarre and threatening conduct.”
City News Service contributed to this article.