Two hours before starting his shift in February 2010, former Collier County Deputy Charles Bullock was captured on security video heading into a Coastland Center Mall bathroom.
Seven minutes later, Bullock walked out and authorities arrested him for molesting a teenage boy.
According to Naples Police, surveillance video showed deputy Bullock going into the mall bathroom 36 times in 60 days, sometimes spending three hours at a time inside.
On two occasions, the cameras captured Bullock with the alleged victim.
“Security cameras can be very beneficial for an investigation. It gives the officers kind of a recorded history of the actual crime itself,” Lieutenant John Barkley said in March.
NBC2 reviewed a year-and-a-half’s worth of all reported crimes at Coastland Center Mall. Of the 92 that referenced cameras, nearly half led to an arrest. Some even cleared a suspect.
Despite that success, the NBC2 Investigators discovered evidence that the mall removed its security cameras after Bullock’s arrest.
Signs once warning patrons they were being record are now missing, a police report showed “no operational cameras.” And mall tenants told NBC2 cameras that used to be there, no longer are.
“I question why would the mall remove the security cameras if they’ve already proven to be a significant tool in the apprehension of a suspected child molester in their mall,” said attorney Jason Turchin, who represents the boy who was allegedly molested.
He filed suit against the mall saying it could have prevented this from happening.
“It almost seems they throw their hands up and say ‘shop at your own risk,’” Turchin said.
Video analysis shows that Bullock was also on duty during the many of the times he was in the mall bathrooms.
While the public or common areas of the mall may not have cameras, independent stores inside the mall typically have their own cameras.
Calls to Coastland Center’s general manager were not returned.
Bullock’s criminal trial is set to start in January.
A hearing in the civil trial against the mall is scheduled sometime next month.