Sex offender linked to Garza case arraigned

The Orange County sex offender who was the last person seen with missing Brooklyn woman Laura Garza was arraigned Thursday on unrelated charges.

Michael Mele, 23, did not respond to questions regarding Garza's disappearance as he was led out of the Clarkstown Court after his arraignment.

The convicted sex offender from Middletown was charged with falsifying business records, public lewdness and harassment.

According to police, Mele went into the Beach Bum Tanning Salon in Nanuet, gave a false name, and while getting a spray tan from a female employee he exposed himself. Police say it happened twice, in August and November of last year.

Mele is also a suspect in the disappearance of Garza, who has been missing since Dec. 3. She was last seen leaving a New York City nightclub in Mele's company. He has not been charged with any crime related to Garza's case.

Police and firefighters have searched Orange and Sullivan counties for months, but found no signs of the missing 25-year-old woman.

The Garza family has tried several times to see Mele in jail, but they say he refuses to meet with them.

Mele's bail was set at $500,000. He is scheduled to be back in court Tuesday.

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