Palo Alto police arrest Track Watch guard for alleged lewd conduct


A uniformed Track Watch guard who was allegedly masturbating in his parked car in Palo Alto last month has been arrested, Palo Alto police said in a statement.

Luke Ryan Sauer, 35, of San Carlos, was arrested on a misdemeanor count of lewd conduct on Monday, March 14, stemming from a Feb. 21 incident. An officer on patrol saw a man slumped over inside a parked car at 6:45 p.m. on the 4000 block of Park Boulevard. When the officer checked on the man's welfare, he saw that the security guard was talking on his cellphone inside of his white 2001 Chrysler Sebring.

Sauer was on break from his duties at the time. The officer did not directly witness a lewd act, but he believed the suspect had been masturbating based on the totality of the investigation, police said. Sauer was not cited at that time, but police submitted a report to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office for review of any possible charges. The DA's office filed the charges on March 9.

The morning after the encounter, police contacted Sauer's employer, Cypress Security, and informed the company about the alleged incident, police said. The company immediately suspended the guard and ensured that he did not work another shift in Palo Alto as part of the Track Watch contract, police said.

Sauer was arrested without incident at about 6:20 p.m. in Redwood City on Monday and booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail.

Sauer's arrest is the fourth of a Track Watch guard in the past five months. Three other men were arrested on a variety of charges while working for the city's previous contractor, Val Security. Only one was arrested for alleged crimes committed while he was still in uniform.

That man, James Broughton, pleaded no contest to burglary and robbery charges. The residential burglaries were allegedly committed while he was on Track Watch duty in Palo Alto, according to court documents in Santa Clara County Superior Court.

Despite the four arrests, the City of Palo Alto has said the guards have prevented many suicide attempts on the Caltrain right-of-way.

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Like this comment
Posted by Quisha
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 14, 2016 at 11:57 pm

[Post removed.]

2 people like this
Posted by Onliine Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 15, 2016 at 1:28 am

Is Cypress the same security firm that had the 3 track guards who were robbing homes near the tracks or this the new track security contractor?

19 people like this
Posted by Sea Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 15, 2016 at 3:38 am

Please, this does not need to be published.

It could be handled differently.


10 people like this
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Mar 15, 2016 at 6:55 am

@Online Name:

Did you *READ* the article?

"Three other men were arrested on a variety of charges while working for the city's previous contractor, Val Security."

21 people like this
Posted by Trouble17770
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 15, 2016 at 7:26 am

Poor guy pic plastered all over the news for this ... I mean I get it there have been issues in the past but if he was doing it on his own time in his private vehicle i mean cme on how many of us haven't been a little frisky in the car every now and then and if he is not associated with the other company say there was an issue but plaster his face ... not cool imo

10 people like this
Posted by Boi From Troy
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 15, 2016 at 9:39 am

Sea Reddy - "It could be handled differently."

Hahahahahahahahahaha!! Very good Sea.

33 people like this
Posted by Richard
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 15, 2016 at 10:27 am

This is a ridiculous arrest for a person seen possibly masturbating in the privacy of his car. Lewd conduct is meant to be purposefully viewable by the public. Would he be charged with lewd conduct if an officer walked up to his home and looked into the window and saw him masturbating, or if an officer looked over the fence of a home and saw one of the residents sunbathing in the nude. In the performance of an officer's duties, these circumstances are always possible if the officer is searching an area for whatever reason.

I sure hope someone in the court system realizes that this is a wrongful arrest. To put this man on the sexual offender list is harmful and would impact him rest of his life.

I agree with the above comments. This should have been handled differently.


20 people like this
Posted by member
a resident of another community
on Mar 15, 2016 at 10:49 am

"...the City of Palo Alto has said the guards have prevented many suicide attempts on the Caltrain right-of-way."

Is it possible to document these attempts? Can someone quantify many? If "many" is accurate, than Palo Alto still has a lot of work to do with preventing attempts.

Also, the arrest of this man and the publication of his photograph is disgraceful. Everyone involved in this bullying episode should take a good look at themselves.

26 people like this
Posted by Curious
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 15, 2016 at 10:57 am

Seems as though the police may have some kind of vendetta against the crossing guards. Resentful of the attention they've gotten (and all the cookies/coffee people give them)? Feeling competitive? Seems as though they have undergone greater scrutiny than anyone else. I wish the police would spend as much time in my neighborhood ticketing people who ignore stop signs.

And yes, no need to splash the poor guy's photo all over the internet. That's tantamount to ruining the rest of his life and ensuring that he will never get a job again, and for what? According to the article, the officer did not actually see anything but merely inferred it.

20 people like this
Posted by DontNeedThis
a resident of Palo Verde School
on Mar 15, 2016 at 11:11 am

I agree with Trouble17770 and Richard
This particular individual did not deserve this publicity.

"The officer did not directly witness a lewd act"
So no one saw him. No one complained. He was on a break.
And why did the article see fit to describe this person's car as well?
So we can all be on the lookout?
While we may not like to discuss masturbation, it is extremely common and not at all unnatural. You may not like the idea of where it was done, was it public?
In any case, overblown reporting.

23 people like this
Posted by Lucy
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 15, 2016 at 11:18 am

If there was no evidence of the act, no witnesses and no one called to report it, it seems very unfair to arrest the guard and publish his photo everywhere on social media, risking his job and any future employments. Seriously, even if he was masturbating in his car, he wasn't doing it out in the open in hopes of others to see or wipping it out in front of a kid like the other guy cops are searching for today. I hope that the charges will be dropped.

17 people like this
Posted by Physician and mom of special needs kids
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 15, 2016 at 1:20 pm

When did we all forget we are all human? Are we now in Communist run 1960's eastern bloc nations? He was on a break, in his own car, not in sight of anyone and some police personnel harass him then they take the step to assure he gets fired? My friend in the UK sent me this article yesterday as it was all over every soctal media site. Scarlet M anyone? This is absolutely ridiculous. Who was the victim of his "crime"?

Like this comment
Posted by Sue Dremann
Palo Alto Weekly staff writer
on Mar 18, 2016 at 3:11 pm

Sue Dremann is a registered user.

I checked with the Santa Clara County DA's Office about why they chose to pursue this case. According to Luis Ramos, supervisor of the sex-assault team, "It's a lewd act. You can't do it in public, and you can't do it in the car."

Mr. Ramos also said that they have much evidence in this case to substantiate the charges, so the DA's office feels it is strong and winnable.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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