‘It’s Eerie’: Citrus Heights Cafe Owner Says East Area Rapist Suspect was a Regular

CITRUS HEIGHTS -- The owner of Charlie's Cafe says the man now known as the suspected East Area Rapist was a regular who usually sat in a booth alone and kept to himself.

"It's eerie," Charlene Carte said.

A man who has been coming in weekly, for years, is now accused of being one of California's most notorious criminals.

Carte says Joseph DeAngelo often ordered a tuna salad, sometimes with an angry outburst.

"The second time I served him his tuna salad he threw the cheese on the table," Carte said. "And I said, 'What's wrong?' He's like, 'What are you trying to do, kill me? I cant eat cheese I told you before.'"

Carte says she tried to cheer him up, because it seemed like he had a chip on his shoulder.

"I named him Mister Happy almost two years ago and that's because he was such a grouch," she said.

Carte says she saw DeAngelo as being full of angst, but nothing more.

"He doesn't have like the eyes of a killer like maybe Charles Manson, nothing like that just like your average joe," she told FOX40.

But a week before his arrest, Carte said DeAngelo touched her inappropriately.

"He went to go pinch my sides," she said. "And I said, 'Hey, hey, don't touch my comfort zone.'"

Carte and her customers are still in shock that the man accused of being the East Area Rapist was hiding in plain sight, at their restaurant, with many of the other regulars being in law enforcement.

"We get undercover, uniformed, all day everyday and I'm sure there's times he's sat like right across from them," she said. "He was not hiding."