Off the street

His hands were shaking, he was driving a car with no license plates and he finally blurted out, "I’m Chester Stiles. I’m the guy you’re looking for. I’m sick of running."

None of that changes the fact that the man authorities were seeking for allegedly videotaping himself having sex with a Las Vegas toddler was taken off the streets Monday evening the same way the vast majority of suspects are apprehended — routine police work, in this case by Henderson officers Mike Dye and Mike Gower.

"Street" police work often manages to be simultaneously dangerous and grindingly routine. It takes a certain quality of steadiness to be ready for whatever the "routine traffic stop" can throw at you.

A little more than a year ago it was a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper stopping a sport utility vehicle with no license plate and turning up polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, subject of a two-year FBI manhunt and subsequently charged with multiple sex crimes.

This week: Chester "Chet" Arthur Stiles, a man with two previous convictions for unlawful carrying of a weapon, a man previously wanted on state and federal warrants alleging he groped a 6-year-old girl in 2003, now under arrest on charges he forced himself on the Las Vegas toddler shown in the recovered home video — a little girl not yet 3 at the time.

The heinousness of the alleged crime has no impact on the presumption of innocence, of course. The suspect has the right to consult with attorneys and offer a defense.

But that’s all in the future. The main thing is that a 6-foot 2-inch former animal trainer for Siegfried & Roy, a man whom Nye County District Attorney Bob Beckett had characterized as an armed "survivalist type" who was not expected to be taken without a fight, did indeed go along quietly.

Officer Dye, a nine-year veteran of the Henderson force, spoke for many in the valley when he said, "Officer Gower and I both felt happy to get someone suspected of doing these crimes off the street." Amen.

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