U.S. Marshals and members of California's Parole Service teamed up Thursday for Operation Boo, a special Halloween sting aimed at making sure sex offenders are leaving trick-or-treating to the kids.
Parole officers make visits to registered sex offenders’ houses several times a year but on this holiday the meetings usually come as a surprise.
Whether dressed in uniform, or in costume, Marshals and parole officers have one goal during these visits: to make sure offenders know there are no tricks or treats allowed on Halloween.
“Five o'clock curfew. No candy, no lights on, no answering the door. There should be nothing to attract children to the house," Parole Services unit supervisor Mark Fonte said.
There are 65 parolees on the checklist. Among them is 80-year-old Frank John Seles, better known as "Mr. Wonder." He's a former Louisiana children's TV show host whose case captured national attention.
He spent some time behind bars but now lives in an affluent Otay Mesa neighborhood. Authorities stopped by his home Thursday afternoon.
They also checked in with registered offender Ricky Ballard, who, though homeless, was found Thursday night exactly where he was supposed to be, according to parole officers.
"We supervise everyone the same whether they are homeless or not homeless," a patrolling agent said. "Usually it is a very pleasant interaction."
Several more sex offenders live in a halfway house in Paradise Hills just across the street from where Tony Pettis was passing out candy Thursday night.
"I’m glad [authorities are] here," Pettis said. "Got my attention right away."
In addition to protecting kids and parents on Halloween, Operation Boo was also designed to help authorities keep a close eye on registered offenders.