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 pleaded not guilty Monday to multiple felony and misdemeanor counts.
Tyler Ray Berthoud of Oak Hills in San Bernardino County was arrested Wednesday at the Walmart at 5601 Ramon Road after several store patrons and employees restrained him as he left the restroom, said Palm Springs Police Sgt. William Hutchinson.
According to Hutchinson, the suspect stuck his head underneath the bottom of a stall in the women’s restroom while a 13-year-old girl was inside. Berthoud entered the stall and masturbated in front of her but did not physically harm the girl, the sergeant said. Witnesses heard the girl screaming and Berthoud was apprehended by a group of people after he left the bathroom.
He is charged with felony counts of attempted lewd acts on a minor, burglary, false imprisonment, along with misdemeanor counts of indecent exposure and child annoyance.
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 a 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 last 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 credit for time 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 is being held in lieu of $1 million bail, will return to court Aug. 23 for a felony settlement conference.
–City News Service