South Carolina

Bluffton man arrested after secretly filming sexual videos of women in Walmart, police say

A 29-year-old man was arrested Sunday after he admitted to following women around the Bluffton Walmart and taking videos of them, including filming under one woman’s dress, according to a Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office report.

The Bluffton man faces one charge of first-offense voyeurism, violating place of privacy, views, photographs, records or films, according to Beaufort County court records. First offense voyeurism is a misdemeanor and is punishable by a maximum fine of $500, no more than 3 years imprisonment, or both, state law says.

An employee called the Sheriff’s Office after he saw the suspect “walking by a woman in a dress and placing the phone between her legs without her knowledge,” the report said.

The suspect initially denied the accusations.

After being shown surveillance footage of the incident, the suspect told deputies “his phone just slipped as he walked by,” the report said.

He “eventually” admitted he had been filming women in the store and let deputies look through his phone, according to the report.

Deputies found videos of about 10 women on the man’s phone from Sunday, some filmed “at an unknown Parker’s gas station” and the rest at Walmart.

“The videos focused on the women’s buttocks area,” and only one video was filmed under a woman’s dress, the report said.

The woman whom the suspect filmed was still at Walmart when deputies were investigating. When they approached her, she said she didn’t know she was videotaped and that she wanted to pursue charges, the report said.

The man told officers that he videos women and sells them on the internet, which earned him $3,000 last month. He has no prior criminal charges in Beaufort County, according to court documents, and his address is not listed in the state’s sex offender registry.

The suspect was booked into the Beaufort County Detention Center at 2:30 p.m. Sunday and released at 1 p.m. Monday, according to the jail log. His bond was set a $3,000.

The man was also banned from the Walmart.

“The investigation is ongoing,” Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Maj. Bob Bromage said. He also encouraged people to report any suspicious activity they see.

BEHIND OUR REPORTING

Why didn't we name the suspect?

The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette typically do not name those charged with misdemeanor crimes unless they are in a position of authority or public trust.

Lana Ferguson has reported on a smorgasbord of news for The Island Packet & Beaufort Gazette since June 2018. Before coming to the Lowcountry, she worked for publications in her home state of Virginia and graduated from the University of Mississippi, where she was editor of the college’s daily newspaper.
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