WBRZ report helped identify man suspected of exposing himself to Garden District residents
BATON ROUGE - A man accused of publicly masturbating in a quiet Baton Rouge neighborhood was caught after one of his victims recognized him from a story posted to WBRZ.com over two years ago.
According to arrest documents, the victim was able to identify Ron Veal, 52, as the culprit after finding the article—first published in 2019—which featured Veal's booking photo. At that time, Veal was accused of masturbating in an apartment complex parking lot, with police noting he had been arrested for obscenity six times in the span of 10 years.
A more recent jail booking photo of Veal was not available because of a new Louisiana state law from New Orleans Democrat State Representative Royce Duplessis bans authorities from releasing most photos — known as "mug shots" — to the public.
Duplessis pushed his legislation through the State Capitol at the end of this year's legislative session to help protect the identities of people who commit some crimes and are later found not guilty or not charged. Duplessis' law allows for some mug shots to be released, but Veal's obscenity charges were not heinous enough, according to the law.
Ale Sanchez, who lives in the area, told WBRZ that she caught Veal looking into her home as she pulled into her driveway last week.
"I saw him masturbating, and I turned around and saw him, and we made eye contact, and I freaked out," Sanchez said. "It was the most disturbing thing I have ever seen in my life."
She threw her car into reverse and sped away. She called police, and after she drove around the block, she could still see the man was near her house.
She drove to Pit-n-Peel on Government Street and cried in the parking lot. That's when the owner, Von Raybon, saw her.
"She was distraught and crying profusely," Raybon said.
Sanchez says she recognized the man. With the help of neighbors, she says she was able to identify the man.
Though she said she could easily recognize the man, police have not yet identified him.
One week later, Sanchez says she still sees him walking around, and many people who live in the area say this is nothing new.
"My neighbor, she says she has seen him before doing the same thing, and everyone that I've spoken to said they have seen him before," Sanchez said.
Sanchez says she wished the police handled her situation better, saying it took them roughly three hours to get to her house.
Police said Thursday that Veal is already in custody and will face two counts of obscenity.
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