72-year-old man accused of harassing women at shopping center, crawling under their cars

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A 72-year-old San Diego man who allegedly harassed women at a San Diego strip mall by crawling beneath their vehicles to prevent them from leaving is facing misdemeanor false imprisonment and battery charges, the San Diego City Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.

Orlando J. Chavez is accused of accosting women in the Grantville shopping center’s parking lot at 10330 Friars Road, with the charges filed against him last month — two counts of false imprisonment and one count of battery — applying to two women he allegedly approached on Aug. 3 and Aug. 13.

The City Attorney’s Office alleges that Chavez would approach women, then crawl beneath their vehicles and refuse to come out, including once 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.

A declaration in support of an arrest warrant alleges that Chavez claimed the victims’ cars were leaking fluid as a rationale for getting beneath their vehicles.

On one occasion, he allegedly grabbed a woman by the arm and told her, “You’re so pretty, you can flatten me out any time,” then followed her in his truck as she drove out of the parking lot.

The City Attorney’s Office said police also investigated Chavez for allegedly following one woman into her workplace, and approaching another woman as she waited to pick her children up from school. The declaration says he was investigated in 2017 and 2018 for allegedly stalking that woman and slashing the tires of her husband’s car, but no related charges were filed.

“Everyone has the right to feel safe when going to work, shopping or picking up their children at school,” City Attorney Mara W. Elliott said. “As City Attorney, I take seriously threatening and harassing behaviors like this and will hold accountable individuals who endanger the safety of any San Diegan.”

Prosecutors said Chavez was seen driving a white Chevrolet truck bearing a license plate that read HINUF in several of the encounters.

The City Attorney’s Office said any additional victims or witnesses should call the City Attorney’s Criminal Division at 619-533-5500 or the San Diego Police Department Eastern Division Investigations at 858-495-7900.

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