The Eastside Costa Mesa home's exterior was flawless, the lawn showing freshly mowed rows, the kidney-shaped pool offering respite from the pre-summer heat.
But inside, police found hints of a flophouse: cabinets converted to makeshift lockers, missing floorboards, air stained by cigarettes.
And then there was Billy Meeks, 44, a suspected fugitive wanted on suspicion of making false statements to police and resisting arrest. Police said they found him hiding in a closet while other officers and local reporters waited outside the home on Monte Vista Avenue.
Meeks was one of seven people arrested Monday night during a sweep by the Costa Mesa Police and Orange County Probation departments that targeted offenders released under California's so-called realignment program.
The program aims to relieve prison overcrowding by releasing nonviolent, low-risk offenders into communities, where they are supervised by local authorities, such as counties and police departments.
Authorities crisscrossed Costa Mesa on Monday, searching 14 homes and contacting four people under community supervision, according to results of the sweep released Tuesday morning.
Authorities tracked Brady Bradford, a 66-year-old sex offender, to a brushy area outside of a Superior Avenue gym by following a signal on the GPS device he's required to wear. He was arrested on suspicion of failing to report to his probation officer.
Hollin Alhart, a 19-year-old sex offender, was arrested at the Ebb Tide mobile home park on Placentia Avenue on suspicion of violating terms of his probation.
"It was good work," said Joe La Barbera, who works with the owner of the mobile home park. "They got him quick."
Authorities also talked with a Nazi prison gang member on the Westside. Police found him walking his pit bull puppy while wearing a partially buttoned shirt that revealed a tattooed stomach. After a quick search of his pockets and hat failed to turn up evidence of any violations, police sent the man on his way.
"I truly hope you do well in your life. I've seen you at some pretty low points in your life," Costa Mesa Police Lt. Mark Manley told the probationer, adding that police would monitor him to ensure he was following the terms of his probation. "We'll drop the hammer if we have to."
While checking in with one probationer who had committed a hate crime against two Latinos, another man who committed a hate crime by pulling a knife on someone walked up to police on the sidewalk.
Police arrested and released him after finding a switchblade on his belt. They confiscated the knife.
Of the remaining three people arrested, one had outstanding warrants, one was suspected of possessing narcotics and drug paraphernalia and another was suspected of having drug paraphernalia.
Authorities planned on contacting the probationers they hadn't reached later in the week, Manley said.
Mayor Jim Righeimer, who attended the sweep with police, called Costa Mesa a "zero tolerance city." He said communities statewide are seeing increases in petty theft and attributed the uptick to realignment.
"If you have a drug problem, and you're continuing to use drugs, that isn't a problem this community should put up with," Righeimer said.Copyright © 2015, CT Now