Alleged Child Predator at Palm Springs Walmart Arrested

News Staff

Palm Springs, CA

A San Bernardino County man was in custody today for allegedly entering a bathroom stall occupied by a teenage girl at a Palm Springs Walmart and masturbating in front of her one day after he was convicted and released from jail for misdemeanor counts of sexual battery and child annoyance.

Tyler Ray Berthoud, 25, of Oak Hills, was arrested Wednesday afternoon at the Walmart, 5601 Ramon Road, after several store patrons and employees restrained him upon leaving the bathroom, according to Palm Springs Sgt. William Hutchinson.

Berthoud was booked on suspicion of attempted lewd acts on a minor and false imprisonment.

According to Hutchinson, the suspect stuck his head underneath the bottom of a stall in the store’s bathroom while the victim, a 13-year-old girl, was inside. Hutchinson said Berthoud entered the stall and masturbated in front of her, but did not physically harm or molest the girl, as was reported by some witnesses on social media.

Witnesses heard the girl screaming and Berthoud was later apprehended by a group of people after he left the bathroom.

Hutchinson called Berthoud a "brazen, dangerous individual” and "someone we don’t want in this community or any community for that matter.”

The sergeant did not know whether Berthoud had any other charges related to sexual crimes, but court records show he was recently on trial in Indio for misdemeanor sexual battery and child annoyance charges related to a case out of Wildomar, in which he tried to pick up two teenage girls at an area McDonald’s, then later followed a woman into her apartment complex and grabbed her buttocks.

A jury found him guilty on the child annoyance count, according to court records, and he additionally pleaded guilty 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 time credit 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. He was being held in lieu of $55,000 bail.

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