Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Shopper warns about peeping Tom

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Winnipeg police are on the lookout for a peeping Tom after a disturbing incident at a St. Vital clothing store.

A 42-year-old woman was trying on clothing at the Old Navy store outside St. Vital Centre Tuesday when she discovered a man peering over top of her dressing-room wall.

The woman was in a state of undress when she noticed the man and called for help. She said the suspect appeared to be recording her on video on his cellphone.

Const. Jason Michalyshen said the store's staff and security appeared promptly on the scene, but the suspect fled before security could catch up to him.

"I believe they made efforts to pursue this individual who was still in the area," he said. "I don't know how quickly people realized what had occurred. This is a pretty unique incident; this is not something that we see or report on on any regular basis, thankfully."

Michalyshen said the woman was clearly upset when officers arrived on the scene. She took to social media to voice her concerns on a Facebook group page.

"I'm upset and embarrassed, but want to share with my friends because this DOES happen. And it's wrong," she wrote online.

"I have a 20-year-old daughter. This should not have happened to me, but I can't imagine what might have happened if it happened to her. It's wrong, illegal, upsetting, and a violation of privacy. It was taken VERY seriously by the management and staff where it took place."

The Old Navy store manager declined to comment, referring inquiries to the Gap Inc. corporate office that owns the clothing chain.

Kari Shellhorn, a spokeswoman from Gap Inc. Global Corporate Communications in San Francisco, gave a statement regarding the peeping Tom.

"The safety and privacy of our employees and customers is of the utmost importance. We are working closely with law enforcement and refer all questions to public safety partners," she said.

Cheryl Mazur, the general manager of St. Vital Centre, also declined to comment but confirmed the suspect police are seeking made his way through the mall after fleeing Old Navy.

Investigators are reviewing security footage from inside the store, the mall and the surrounding parking-lot area to try and identify the suspect.

Michalyshen said the suspect will likely face charges of voyeurism if or when he is found.

Police are requesting that anyone with information about this incident contact them at 204-986-2857 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-TIPS (8477).

jessica.botelho-urbanski@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 19, 2014 B3

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