Shopper put phone under woman’s skirt, US cops say. Then police checked store video


Police said the suspect was caught after a woman filmed Elliott ‘placing his phone on the floor, under another woman’s skirt’. — Image by tirachard on Freepik

A Target shopper put his phone on the ground of a store aisle, right under a woman’s skirt, North Carolina officers said.

A video shared on social media shows a man enter the aisle and bend to the ground. He can be seen placing a phone under the skirt of a woman as she bent down, according to the Greenville Police Department.

“This is absolutely wrong,” a person can be heard saying as she confronted the man.

The man was arrested April 15 before officers checked the Greenville store’s surveillance video, leading to two more charges of felony secret peeping. Police in a news release didn’t list attorney information for the man, identified as 21-year-old Thomas Elliott.

“Detectives are also aware of Elliott’s previous employment in several school settings and are working closely with those employers and neighbouring law enforcement agencies to review additional camera footage for any other potential victims,” officers wrote.

A Target spokesperson shared a statement about the incident with McClatchy News on April 18.

“The safety of our guests and team members is Target’s top priority and we have robust procedures, policies and training in place to ensure that our stores are safe places to shop and work,” the company wrote in an email.

“We have no tolerance for this type of behaviour and are working closely with the Greenville Police Department to provide what’s needed for their investigation.”

In response to a request for comment about Elliott’s case, Pitt County Schools said he was a volunteer at Eastern Elementary School in Greenville. The district uses a program that checks sex offender databases before volunteers are allowed in schools.

“We are disturbed and deeply concerned by video footage of the individual that has been shared on social media and news outlets, and based on the footage, the individual will not be returning to our campuses as a volunteer or hired as an employee,” the district told McClatchy News in an emailed statement.

Elliott also held a position at Opendoor Church, which in a statement to McClatchy News said it was “taking this situation extremely seriously”. The spokesperson added Elliott was “immediately terminated upon notification of his arrest” and won’t be allowed on church properties again.

Police said Elliott was caught on video “after a customer became suspicious that he was following her in Target. She watched Elliott and recorded him placing his phone on the floor, under another woman’s skirt.”

On April 16, Elliott went into custody a second time and was taken to the Johnston County jail. Officers said they seized his phone but so far “have not found any evidence of inappropriate contact with children.”

An investigation continues, and more charges are possible, police said.

Greenville is a roughly 85-mile drive east from Raleigh. – The Charlotte Observer/Tribune News Service

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