Naked Doorbell Ditching Case Gets Weirder

No strip search necessary

Thursday, Aug 13, 2009  |  Updated 8:15 AM PDT
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Naked Doorbell Ditching Case Gets Weirder

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Windsor Police report a spike in burglaries. The thief has been ringing doorbells to make sure no one is home.

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A man accused of ringing residents' doorbells naked then leading deputies on a chase in a pickup truck last month pleaded not guilty in San  Mateo County Superior Court Tuesday to charges that could land him in prison for the rest of his life if convicted.

Peter Steele, 38, is charged with recklessly evading a police officer and vandalism, both felonies, as well as misdemeanor charges of indecent exposure, driving under the influence, driving on a suspended license, trespassing and resisting arrest for the July 11 incident, San Mateo  County Assistant District Attorney Morley Pitt said.

Prosecutors allege that two residents in Woodside and Portola Valley reported a naked man ringing their doorbells around 3 a.m.

A deputy who responded to the calls spotted a blue Dodge pickup truck driving away from the area. The deputy tried to stop the pickup but the driver refused to yield, San Mateo County sheriff's Lt. Ray Lunny said.

Deputies then chased the pickup onto Interstate Highway 280 for nearly seven miles before it hit the side of the road and the tires went flat at the Sand Hill Road exit, according to the district attorney's office.

Steele then allegedly ran from the car, still naked except for his tennis shoes, into a residence and then back out to a wooded area where deputies caught him, the district attorney's office reported.

Deputies tried to subdue him with an electronic control device but were unsuccessful. They then shot two "bean bags" at Steele and were finally able to take him into custody, Lunny said.

He was found to have a pulse of 220 and was taken to a hospital, where staff allegedly observed him masturbating. A search of his car allegedly revealed rubber female genitalia, according to the district  attorney's office.

Steele is in custody in lieu of $60,000 bail. The incident is a  third-strike case, which means he could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted of all the charges, Pitt said.

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