Photo credit: Airman 1st Class Gustavo Castillo
Photo credit: Airman 1st Class Gustavo Castillo

Updated at 12:45 p.m., Feb., 18, 2015

An Escondido auto mechanic suspected of sneaking into North County homes on at least four occasions and fondling girls as they slept was behind bars Wednesday.

Gilbert Andrew Chavarria, 27, was arrested Monday after DNA matches and other evidence allegedly linked him to the break-ins and sexual assaults, which occurred in Escondido and San Marcos during the summer of 2013, according to police and San Diego Sheriff’s officials.

Chavarria is suspected of removing or slicing open window screens to get into homes in the early-morning hours, then creeping into the bedrooms of girls ages 5 to 15, cutting holes in their sleepwear and molesting them, Escondido Police Chief Craig Carter told reporters.

Chavarria was booked into county jail in Vista on suspicion of five counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child under age 14, three counts of assault with intent to commit rape during a burglary and one count of attempting to commit the latter crime.

He was being held on $4.5 million bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

—City News