Something stinks: Police announce the arrest of infamous “Foot Fondler”

LAKE TAHOE, NV – A man who has been dubbed the “Lake Tahoe Foot Fondler” has been taken into custody and charged with two counts of burglary and battery. The man was arrested at his home in Atwater, California, and will be extradited to Nevada where he will face court proceedings.

Deputies in Lake Tahoe, Nevada received reports over the course of the Fourth of July weekend of two burglaries. While that may not be unusual for the resort town, police soon learned that these were not ordinary burglaries where items of value were stolen. Rather, two women in separate rooms at the Club Wyndham South Shore Hotel reported waking up to a strange man massaging their feet.

The first victim, who reported the incident on July 2nd, informed deputies with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office she awoke around 4:30 a.m. to find a strange man “fondling” her feet before he fled the room. The second victim, who reported the incident around the same time on July 3rd, said she had the same encounter with the man after waking to find her feet being massaged. Both victims confronted the male who fled out of the condos after being confronted by the angry and shocked women.

A statement from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office noted: “During the early morning hours between July 1-3, 2023, an adult male entered two Stateline resort condominiums by opening unlocked screen doors. Once inside, he positioned himself at the foot of the bed and rubbed the feet of two separate adult females.”

The suspect identity was unknown until recently when the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office got a break in the case using forensic evidence taken from the scene. Police were able to identify the man as 26-year-old Atwater resident Mark Anthony Gonzales. Detectives have not reported what type of evidence was left behind that allegedly led to the identification of Gonzales.

Armed with an identity, detectives worked to obtain an arrest warrant for burglary and battery charges stemming from the foot fondling actions over the recent holiday weekend. Once the warrant was obtained, detectives worked with the Merced County Sheriff’s Office in California, where his home is located, to find and apprehend Gonzales.

On August 1st, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office reported Gonzales was located at his home in Atwater by detectives from the Merced County Sheriff’s Office. After being taken into custody, Gonzales was transported to the Merced County Jail where he is awaiting extradition back to Nevada. He also has the option to post a $50,000 bond before his extradition case is heard.

This is not Gonzales’ first brush with the law, as he is also suspected of several other crimes ranging from trespassing, theft of women’s shoes, and pleasuring himself during the course of some of the incidents. The pattern of alleged behavior has police concerned that he is escalating his crimes which could eventually lead to a violent encounter with a victim.

Douglas County Sheriff Dan Coverley announced his deputies’ quick actions in not only identifying Gonzales as the alleged suspect but also in taking him into custody before anyone was hurt. Sheriff Coverley reported, “I am extremely pleased that my investigators were able to identify, locate, and arrest this individual. These types of crimes are especially alarming to a community, and being able to make an arrest allows the victims and community to feel safe again.”
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