Robert McGuire has been sneaking into the same X-rated movie theater in Santa Ana every Wednesday for the last 11 years.
And it’s all in a day’s work for a porno spy.
The city has paid Sgt. McGuire, 53, tens of thousands of dollars to secretly record the action on the screen with a hidden camera, tape recorder and note pad to produce evidence for a decade-long legal fight to shut down the city’s only adult movie house.
To McGuire, wrapping an 8-millimeter movie camera in a brown towel and shooting scenes from “California Gigolo,” “The T and A Team” and “Sheer Panties” for three to four hours a sitting is as routine and unemotional a police task as lifting fingerprints from a crime scene.
“It’s just investigative work,” said McGuire, a 26-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department and vice expert hired to do free-lance work for Santa Ana in his off-duty hours.
“I just go in and gather evidence, nothing more,” he said. “If I wasn’t doing that, I wouldn’t be in the theater.”
McGuire was called into action in 1975 when the city was preparing to file the first in a series of more than 35 lawsuits aimed at shutting down the Mitchell Bros.’ Santa Ana theater.
Relying on Tapes
The city wanted to prove that the films were obscene and constituted a public nuisance, but the theater refused to produce copies of its rented films for evidence in court. The city has relied on McGuire’s tapes and commercial videocassette versions as evidence.