LOS ANGELES—After two years of searching, the LAPD thought they finally had the Red Car Flasher, a man who had exposed himself to multiple women from a red sedan. There was only one problem: the suspect hadn’t driven a red car in weeks.
Luckily, the investigators decided to trust their instincts and arrest Luis Bucio-Cedeno at his residence on March 29th, whose identity had earlier been corroborated by eleven separate victims. According to a LAPD press release, the recent break in the case was provided by the continuous work of multiple law enforcement agencies and a recent victim.
“This was truly a team effort among detectives and police officers across three San Fernando Valley police divisions,” said Lt. Paul Vernon, commanding officer of the Mission Detective Division. “After two years, dozens of sightings, several composite sketches, we got a break in February when a female jogger wrote down a license plate for the van of a man who had exposed himself to her.”
Before the van left the scene, the initial suspect pulled up next to a red Toyota Camry parked in front him, and exchanged a few words with the driver. Once the van was gone, the victim was flashed at for a second time by the man in the sedan.
The license plate number led detectives to a car registered to Bucio-Cedeno in North Hills.
“We followed Bucio-Cedeno for a couple weeks, hoping to corroborate the identifications by catching him in the red car, but he never drove one,” said Lt. Vernon. “We decided we had enough for a warrant so detectives presented the case to the City Attorney’s office and got a warrant.”
LAPD officers set up “a ruse” at Bucio-Cedeno’s residence to lure him out, and when he exited the house, he was arrested. He was later booked for 19 counts against 11 victims, including charges of indecent exposure, child annoying, lewd conduct, and sexual battery. His bail was set at $110,000 with a no-bail hold currently in place due to Bucio-Cedno’s immigration status.
As for Bucio-Cedeno’s signature ride, further investigation after Bucio-Cedeno’s arrest revealed its fate. The suspect’s aunt had let her nephew borrow her red Camry for several months in the past until she recently sold it to a Santa Clarita resident.
While the LAPD is confidant that they have their man, the break in the case suggests that there is more work to be done. “We’re sure now that Bucio-Cedeno is our [Red Car] Flasher,” Lt. Vernon added. “We think he’s responsible for far more cases than we’ve been able to make, and what’s worse, this case has shown us there are many more of these types of suspects than we ever realized.”
Anyone with information on this crime is urged to call LAPD Mission Detectives, at (818) 838-9975. Anonymous tips can be called into Crimestoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477), or by texting 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Online tips may be placed at www.LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.
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