By Brenda L. Holmes
PLAINFIELD — Valentine’s Day became a scary experience for one Victoria Secret shopper. The Plainfield store set the scene for a voyeurism case now under investigation by the Plainfield Police Department.
Britney (last name withheld),23, was shopping for some new clothing and undergarments when she entered a dressing room.
“I had put the clothes on and saw his camera in the mirror,” she said. “I was fully dressed so I opened the door and saw his shadow as he walked away.
“I said really loud, ‘This guy was taking pictures of me in the dressing room.’ He said, ‘ I did not.’ And then he took off at that point and was gone. He was with a woman and she stayed there standing up for him — saying he wasn’t back there.”
Britney, who is now eight months pregnant, said the whole ordeal was “really creepy.”
Todd Knowles, patrolman with the Plainfield Police Department, was dispatched to Metropolis mall.
“I called the security office and arrived on scene at Victoria Secret,” Knowles said.
Security had detained the suspect, Christopher Simmons. Knowles approached the suspect and asked for his phone.
“I took possession of the phone,” he said. “He gave it to me willingly. I told him I would be obtaining a search warrant for the phone. I wanted to make sure we did everything correctly in case we would be making charges.”
After getting the search warrant the Avon Police Department provided a helping hand with some of its technology.
“Avon PD has the technology to copy everything on a cell phone,” Knowles said. “When we looked at the images on the phone we found more suspect photographs and child pornography. I was very concerned because there were obviously more victims.”
One victim was photographed at the Tan and Laundry in Plainfield and four others at a tanning salon in Martinsville, he said.
“The people at Tan and Laundry were very helpful,” Knowles said. “They were able to give us the names of the people who would have been in the tanning beds that matched up with the time stamps on the photos.”
Knowles then worked with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department to serve a search warrant on his home in Marion County.
“We were able to take laptops, computers, and several DVDs from the home,” Knowles said. “He lived in Marion County at the time but I have been told he now lives in Mooresville.”
Simmons has been charged with two counts of voyeurism and one count of child pornography.
The Martinsville Police Department is now working with the four victims found at the other tanning salon.
Knowles said it was very difficult to approach other victims.
“It’s just horrible,” he said. “These people are traumatized. I’m glad (Britney) saw him and did something about it or this could still be going on. She stopped a bad situation.”
Britney said she was glad she was able to help.
“I’m also glad the police didn’t just brush it off or think it was not a big deal,” she said. “They’ve been keeping in contact with me and have been very helpful.”