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.