‘Foot fondler’ broke into houses, rubbed women’s feet and ‘pleasured himself’

Police have captured a man who allegedly broke into women's holiday homes to "rub their feet" while they slept, stole women's shoes and pleasured himself in the process.

Mark Anthony Gonzales is suspected of being the infamous "Lake Tahoe Foot Fondler" who terrorised a luxury resort in Nevada last month.

The 26-year-old was arrested at his home in Atwater, California, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) confirmed.

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He's accused of breaking into two condos at the 4.5-star Club Wyndham South Shore hotel by entering through screen doors that had been left unlocked by his victims.

During the incidents, which happened in the early hours of the morning on July 2 and July 3, Gonzales "positioned himself at the foot of the bed and rubbed the feet of two separate adult females", the Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

Each of the women woke from their sleep at approximately 4.30am to the terrifying scene of the alleged creep "fondling their feet" but when they spotted him, he quickly fled, police said.

In both of the cases, the women, who didn't know each other, had been staying on the ground floor and the intruder had entered their rooms via the "exterior sliding screen door", which police said had likely been left unlocked.

The Sheriff's Office warned residents and guests staying in the Lake Tahoe area at the time to "secure all exterior doors to their homes/rented rooms" to keep themselves safe from the creep on the loose.

But after nearly a month of escaping capture, police finally snared the suspect on Tuesday after linking him to the crimes "via forensic techniques".

DCSO said Gonzales was already known to law enforcement in the Atwater/Merced County area of California.

He was the suspect of a string of disturbing crimes, including stealing women's shoes, trespassing and "sexual self-gratification" during some of the incidents.

According to DCSO investigators, it appeared "Gonzales' crimes were escalating in nature".

He is now behind bars after being booked into Merced County Jail on two counts of Burglary and two counts of Battery.

The suspect will be held at the prison on a fugitive warrant with a bail of $50,000 until he can be extradited back to Douglas County, Nevada, the Sheriff's Office said

"I am extremely pleased that my Investigators were able to identify, locate, and arrest this individual,” Douglas County Sheriff Dan Coverley said.

He added: "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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