Atascadero family awakens to a stranger on the couch

ATASCADERO — A Santa Lucia Road resident called police May 8 after finding a stranger performing a lewd act in her home.

Cierra Romero called police at approximately 7:20 a.m. after finding Jose Arnolda Cantu, 39, of Atascadero, allegedly performing a lewd act on her couch.

Atascadero Police believe that Cantu had accessed the home through a rear sliding door. There were no signs of forced entry at the apartment, located on the 6600 block of Santa Lucia Road.

After waking up and coming out of her bedroom, “Down the hallway, she could see her couch and she could see the suspect sitting on the couch,” Sgt. Jason Carr of the Atascadero Police Department said.

Romero alerted her family and her father confronted Cantu and forced him out the front door.

“Cantu waited in front of the apartment and he made no attempt to flee the area,” said Carr. “He had stated that he thought that he had a friend or a former girlfriend or something that lived there.”

Carr said that the police department has had previous contact with Cantu, but “to my knowledge, we haven’t had any circumstances like this with him,” Carr said.

Carr added that “There wasn’t any indication that he was under the influence of any controlled substances or under the influence of alcohol.”

Cantu has had previous run-ins with the authorities. On June 2, 2011, he was arrested by the San Luis Obispo Sheriff ’s Office after detectives conducted a sting operation. Cantu and another man were meeting them to sell stolen goods. Cantu was charged with possession of stolen property and booked into county jail.

Cantu was booked into county jail and charged with indecent exposure, a felony, and with “entering a dwelling.”


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