If you thought Tucson’s seemingly zillions of traffic cameras are an invasion of privacy, just wait until you hear about our Peeping Toms.
It’s been a busy year for Old Pueblo voyeurs, with peeping and privacy invasion crime statistics up from last year in a couple of categories. And with the arrest of one bold and brazen dude earlier this month who actually got down on his knees and looked up a woman’s dress in the middle of a home furnishing store, the trend doesn’t show signs of stopping anytime soon.
Ladies, it may be high time to invest in some granny panties.
A man was arrested as a suspect in the home furnishing store case after the woman notified police after the incident. But while it was going on, she had absolutely no clue, according to the Tucson Police Department press release.
The dude began following the woman around the HomeGoods store at 7170 East Broadway, the release notes, and when he noticed her attention captured by something in the shop, he made his move.
“The subject quickly knelt down on the floor behind the victim and while on his hands and knees peered up her dress. He was able to get back on his feet and walk away from her without the victim noticing his actions.”
Gals, keep this in mind the next time you’re absorbed by that really cool leopard print throw pillow.
Although the woman did not note the guy’s sneak peek, store employees did. In fact, they had been monitoring the fellow ever since he began to act suspicious. The caught the whole show of him looking up her dress and kicked him out of the store. They told the woman what had transpired and she later informed police.
Arrested was Augustin Gonzales Gongora, 42, of Vail, after police were able to make an ID from store employees’ descriptions. Gongora was booked into Pima County Jail on one count of voyeurism, which happens to be a felony.
While this incident has many pitiful aspects, perhaps one of the saddest is that a Peeping Tom incident is reported about every other day. Tucson police statistics from January 1 to mid-August put exposure and Peeping Tom offenses at 133. Lewd and lascivious acts are at 26 and the specialty category of window peeping at 19. Keep in mind these are only reported cases, while others can be going on unreported or even unknown to the victims.
It all depends if the peeper is as slick as he is sick — or if he’s dense enough to get down on his hands and knees to peer up a dress amidst a store full of watchful employees.
Statistics from 2010 show 178 exposure and Peeping Tom offenses and 22 window peeping incidents for the entire year, both lower than our 2011year-to-date totals when you start dividing up the totals by the number of days. Lewd and lascivious acts clocked in at 55 for 2010, which means we’d need to more than double the current total by the end of the year to get a match.
Please don’t take that as a challenge.
One the upside, at least some of the peepers do not seem to be very swift. Another peeper arrest back in April nabbed 24-year-old Bryan Wong for suspected voyeurism and video recording without consent. His arrest came after authorities were alerted to a little white box nestled near the paper dispenser in the women’s restroom in UA’s Stevie Eller Dance Studio.
This was after a little white box had also been seen mounted in the women’s locker room in the dance building at random intervals two months back.
Police opened the box to find a video camera with footage of women changing and using the bathroom — as well as footage of the guy mounting the camera in place.
What sticks out most about the white box incidents — besides the incredible stupidity of videotaping yourself in the act of mounting a camera for illegal activities — is that no one thought to say or do anything about the white box but rather went about their business in its full view.
While a paranoid state is not a particularly healthy state, being acutely aware of what’s going on around us is. This includes noting if something seems strange or looks out of place — like anything other than toilet paper mounted in the toilet stall or some suspicious guy following us like a puppy dog down the throw pillow aisle.
You can never be too safe, just like you can never have too many leopard throw pillows.
Ryn Gargulinski, aka Rynski, is a writer, artist, performer and poet. Her column runs in the “Tucson Weekly” print edition monthly and weekly on Friday on “The Range.” See more writing and art from RYNdustries at ryngargulinski.com and rynski.etsy.com.