VISALIA — A registered sex offender was arrested Tuesday by Tulare County Sheriff’s detectives who tracked the man down after an eight-month investigation for falsifying his address, an official said.
Steven Barajas, 25, was convicted of performing lewd acts with a child under 14 years old. Mandated to register as a sex offender, Barajas established his residence in the unincorporated town of Sultana in Tulare County, said Tulare County Sheriff’s Sgt. Chris Douglass.
Detectives launched an investigation on Barajas in April 2009 when they discovered he was not living at that address.
An unrelated misdemeanor traffic warrant was issued for Barajas in June 2009 with bail set at $35,000. In September, his case was forwarded to the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office for review. The DA’s office issued a felony warrant for his arrest for violation of registration with bail set at $25,000.
Detectives finally located Barajas at his residence on the 600 block of “K” Street in Visalia. The location would not be prohibited under the residency guidelines for sex offenders because it is not near a school, daycare or park where children would congregate.
Tulare County is home to more than 700 registered sex offenders. Law enforcement officials estimate that 80 percent of the county population lives within one mile of at least one sex offender.
Deputies perform ongoing random checks of registered sex offenders to verify their address, Douglass said.
“We actually knock on the door to see that they are there,” she said. “If we cannot verify that the location is their actual residence, we open an investigation.”