Volume 96, Issue 98
Thursday, April 3, 2003

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Peeping Tom videotapes woman

By Paolo Zinatelli
Gazette Staff

A recent incident involving a "peeping Tom" in a heavily populated student area has left many Western students concerned.

Tuesday evening, at approximately 10 p.m., a female student was in the bedroom of her home on Huron Street when she heard a noise coming from the veranda, which her bedroom window overlooks. Upon further inspection, she realized a male intruder was on the porch with a video camera, recording the student getting undressed.

The suspect ran away, but was subsequently chased by both the victim and a male passer-by on the street.

"It's so close to home," said the victim's roommate, who wished to remain anonymous. "It's pretty disgusting [that] he's doing this."

"There's no telling how long he was there," the victim's roommate said, adding both the University Police Department and the London Police Department were called.

"The UPD was the first to respond," she explained. When the LPD arrived, they also brought along a canine unit to search the area, she said, adding they spent two hours searching for the suspect.

"We received a call [regarding] a peeping Tom with a video camera," said Const. Wendy McGowan, spokesperson for the UPD. As the area in which the crime occurred is within LPD jurisdiction, the UPD only assisted with the perimeter search.

Const. Paul Martin, spokesperson for the LPD, confirmed that four police cruisers as well as the canine unit were dispatched.

The victim described the suspect to the LPD as 5'7" to 5'9" with a slim build; he had dark eyes, dark hair and a medium complexion. The suspect was wearing a dark puffy jacket and jeans and was in his mid-20s.

The suspect had fled from the scene by the time the LPD arrived, Martin said. "We don't know if he had access to a vehicle – that's still under investigation."

Martin said the LPD is asking for students to take safety precautions. "Try to have exterior lights," he said, adding renters should ask their landlords to install them.

"The best thing to do [in this type of situation] is to pretend not to see [the suspect] and give the LPD a call," Martin said. The LPD takes these incidents very seriously, he added, as demonstrated by the large police presence that was dispatched.

"We don't know what the purpose of the person [was]," Martin stated. The LPD wants to catch the suspects, but they are also concerned about the victim's safety, he added.

If the suspect is caught, he can be charged with a criminal offence, Martin said.

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2002 THE GAZETTE