In­de­cent acts filmed on phones

Eastern Courier - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - IMOGEN NEALE

A man who al­legedly per­formed sex acts in public has been charged af­ter two quick-think­ing women filmed him in the act on their smart­phones.

How­ick Com­mu­nity Con­sta­ble Ian Wil­letts says a man ‘‘over 30 years old’’ al­legedly ex­posed him­self to two women, at dif­fer­ent times and places in the East Auck­land area.

In the first in­ci­dent, the man walked around the Botany Town Cen­tre public li­brary be­fore stop­ping in an aisle.

A woman sit­ting nearby ‘‘ob­served him play­ing with the front of his trousers’’, Wil­letts says.

The man then al­legedly ex­posed him­self and per­formed a sex act.

‘‘She was quite shocked and up­set by what she saw - as you would be. So she’s used her mo­bile phone to ac­tu­ally take a [visual] record­ing of it.’’

The woman then ap­proached li­brary staff and town cen­tre se­cu­rity to in­form then about what she’d wit­nessed.

They fol­lowed the man but lost sight of him.

Wil­lets says the footage gave po­lice ‘‘par­tial recog­ni­tion of the male, just from a side view’’.

In the sec­ond in­ci­dent, a women was eat­ing her lunch in the win­dow of a Mead­ow­lands restau­rant when she no­ticed a man walk­ing back and forth.

‘‘He’s then done ex­actly the same thing... be­fore walk­ing away,’’ Wil­letts says.

‘‘Again, she had the pres­ence to get out her mo­bile phone and record what was go­ing on. We had a good recog­ni­tion of his face this time.’’

Wil­lets says the man does not live in East Auck­land and there weren’t any ‘‘ag­gra­vat­ing fac­tors’’ to the of­fend­ing.

‘‘This was about a public show,’’ he says. ‘‘There was no phys­i­cal in­ter­ac­tion.’’

With­out the video footage, Wil­letts says the po­lice might not have had any other av­enues of in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

He says there’s no un­der­es­ti­mat­ing the ex­tent to which mo­bile phone tech­nol­ogy has be­come a tool for fight­ing crime.

The man is due to ap­pear in the Manukau District Court on two counts of com­mit­ting an in­de­cent act in a public place.

Wil­letts says any­one who has re­cently wit­nessed sim­i­lar be­hav­iour can con­tact him at the How­ick Po­lice Sta­tion on phone 09 250 2800.

IMOGEN NEALE / STUFF

An aisle at the public Botany Li­brary where one of the in­de­cent acts was com­mit­ted.

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