Police say Luis Mesqueda Hernandez was caught on security cameras by security personnel sneaking into the women’s bathroom at the store Sunday afternoon and using his cell phone to take photos of a woman.
The store’s security officers detained Hernandez until police arrived.
Hernandez was transported to the city jail and later released on bond.
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Man arrested for being “Peeping Tom” at Prime Outlet Mall http://www.privateofficer.com
The woman said that when she bent to see if anyone was in the restroom, she noticed what appeared to be someone in men’s boots and pants.
She said when she was washing her hands, she saw the man in a stall using a mirror to look into the adjacent area
The woman ran from the restroom and notified security. An officer responded to the area and was able to detain the man until police arrived.
According to the police report, the officer said that the man was “sweaty” and that his pants were unbuttoned and unzipped.
Officers arrested 26-year-old Ronald Hamrick. He is charged with voyeurism.
Police said that Hambrick denied the allegation and told them that he had gone into the wrong bathroom by accident.
Peeping Tom arrested three times in a week http://www.privateofficer.com
Police were called to a local mall where the complaintant told them that “someone had reported that there was a man in the restroom that was sticking a mirror under the stall partitions and doors to look at whoever was in the next stall,” said Sgt. Vince Valdez, of Des Moines police.
Police said Michael McGill, 49, of West Des Moines, admitted to the incident, saying he wanted to “look at people’s privates because it is fun.” He was charged with trespassing and criminal mischief and then released.
Wednesday, West Des Moines police were called to Valley West Mall, where again, police found McGill and again he was accused of the same type of behavior.
The victim fought off McGill, holding him until police arrived. McGill again admitted to investigators that he’d been watching kids in the play area, saying, “I’m a pedophile. I get excited by little boys.”
West Des Moines police arrested him and this time charged him with intent to commit sexual abuse and then released him.
“He’s overtly committing these acts and says he’s done them before, not only at Merle Hay Mall, but at Southridge Mall and other locations,” said Valdez.
Investigators in different parts of the city didn’t notice the pattern until Thursday, when they issued a warrant and arrested McGill again. This time, his bond soared to a $250,000. Police said he might be locked up, but this case is a reminder to practice vigilance.
“We want to make sure people are alert to any type of behavior that’s strange. You want to keep yourself safe and call us to assist in that,” said Lt. Cam Coppess, of West Des Moines police.
McGill admitted to another case of assault on a DART bus and he was arrested for trespassing at the Kaleidoscope Burger King restroom. The string of activities put those businesses and every mall in the metro on alert.
Thursday night, McGill remains in the Polk County Jail on $250,000 bond.
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Voyeurism on the rise http://www.privateofficer.com
Atlanta Ga. April 18 2008
Authorities and loss prevention personnel say that they have been noticing an increase in voyeurism in department stores and shopping malls.
In recent weeks, nine people have been charged in separate incidents at Walmart, Target, Macy’s and several malls through-out the country.
The incidents may be unnoticeable to the average person as suspects begin using small covert surveillance equipment, cellphone cameras and small handheld video recorders.
Detective Anthony Bruden, a special victims investigator in Connecticut said that it used to be when you heard of a “peeping tom”, it was someone looking into your window. but now, as recording devices are getting smaller, spy shops are abundant on the internet and cameras are everywhere, so is the crime of peeping.
Lawmakers in most states have recognized the need to change their peeping tom statues to include much broader language that now makes it a criminal offense to take pictures of individuals with intent of using the pictures for sexual explortation, gratification or sales of the material. In some states, the charge of criminal voyeurism is a felony punishable by 1-3 years in prison.
Detective Bruden said that the internet also fuels these predators as they post their recordings on YouTube, MySpace and the many adult websites that feed off these type of videos. Upskirting as it’s sometimes referred to has gone from normal men being men trying to get a look at a pretty woman to people who are stalking others and taking unbeleiable liberties not only to get a look but to get sexual photos and videos of a person without their knowledge.
Mike Matthews, a longtime security expert and prior law enforcement officer said that he could remember when men might look around the corner into a dressing woman if they saw a pretty lady going in but that’s as far as they would go. They knew there was a line and they pretty much never crossed that line. Now there is no line and the sky’s the limit as these people do whatever they have to just to get their jollies Matthews said.
People have been taking pictures and videos of each other as long as there has been cameras Bruden said and that’s okay, it’s legal whether they are naked or dressed .
As long as both people agree to it, there’s no problem. But when you’re out in a shopping mall or department store shopping, you’re not expecting someone to be following you around trying to see some skin so that they can snap pictures of you.
In a recent case Matthews said a male was hiding under a clothes rack in a womens department of a major retailer taking video of unsuspecting shoppers. Another man was arrested at a Walmart for using his cellphone camera to record woman’s body parts without their knowledge. It’s not only disturbing to the victims but also to the retailers and their security staff Matthews said. They don’t want that kind of person in their store scaring off customers or creating a hazard or a problem and also, let’s not forget, committing a crime Matthews added.
Security officers, loss prevention staff and even store management have a duty to make sure that they keep the stores, shopping malls and public areas free of people committing criminal acts and safe for those using their property Matthews said. If the security staff should notice anyone acting suspicous or recording, definitely notify the local police and if need be, apprehend and detain the suspect until police arrive, Matthews added.
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