Surrounded by police, a suspected serial killer in Anaheim quickly sliced the GPS device from his ankle, hopped on a bicycle and pedaled across the street.
The registered sex offender didn't get far, said Ian Pummel, the owner of an Anaheim auto body shop where Steven Dean Gordon worked.
Gordon and a second man are now in custody, charged with raping and killing four women. Police said both were on probation and wearing court-issued GPS devices when they committed the crimes, which date to last fall.
On Friday a squadron of police officers, SWAT team members and parole agents descended on the Anaheim body shop, looking for Gordon, who washed cars and swept floors at the shop.
Pummell said officers apparently called Gordon on his cellphone, telling him to surrender. Instead, he said, Gordon handed the phone to a manager and took off.
"Steve needs to come out front,” the officers said, Pummell recalled Tuesday.
The suspect jumped on a bike and made it across the center divider on East La Palma Avenue before being arrested, Pummell said.
Gordon, 45, had worked at the shop on and off over the years and had recently returned to work after serving a prison sentence.
By then he was living in some bushes nearby, apparently with Franc Cano, 25, who had also completed a prison sentence and also is accused in the serial killings.
Pummell said he offered Gordon his old job back.
The shop owner said he knew about some of Gordon's past convictions and that he was a sex offender. But because no women or children worked at the shop, Pummell thought giving Gordon his job back would be the “Christian thing to do.”
“There was never an indication that he would do something like this,” Pummell said. “I never saw it coming.”
Every Tuesday, Gordon would leave for counseling, Pummell said, and about a month ago Gordon asked him for more time off before one of his sessions because he said he had to take a polygraph test.
He recalled Gordon also bringing an RV into the shop several months ago to clean it.
Police said they seized an RV after arresting Gordon and Cano, saying the men had a tie to the vehicle.