GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — An NYPD auxiliary officer stood accused Friday evening of spying on women at the largest shopping mall in Long Island.
As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Friday, it happened inside the American Apparel store at Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City. Police said two 20-year-old women were peeped upon inside and just outside a changing room stall.READ MORE: 12-Year-Old Shot In Brooklyn Remains Hospitalized, Police Searching For Gunman
Investigators confirmed that the accused dressing room peeper, Troy Gibbons-Blair, 31, is an NYPD auxiliary officer in his hometown neighborhood of Jamaica, Queens.
“I feel so vulnerable, you know? I mean, what an awful feeling,” said Garden City shopper Amy Hanrahan. “And going to a dressing room, right? And this is supposed to be a place where, you know, you feel safe.”
According to the criminal complaint, the suspect engaged in lewd conversation with one woman and became sexually excited. He then allegedly entered the fitting room and lowered his iPhone over the wall, photograph the second victim in her underwear.
“This is just an example of technology that we need in our lives, but in the hands of a predator, it becomes very dangerous, and women especially feel very vulnerable and they need to be vigilant,” said Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas.
Singas said unlawful surveillance crimes are on the rise, and women wearing skirts, in bathrooms and in dressing rooms are being preyed upon.READ MORE: Suffolk County Police Officer In Critical Condition After Being Stabbed By Suspect Following Crash
“I think they need to update the security because no reason somebody should be allowed to go in there and look in on women,” said Garden City shopper Kelly Jefferson.
The suspect’s mother ran from a Nassau County courtroom after Gibbons-Blair proclaimed his innocence to a judge. Gibbons-Blair’s girlfriend also ran from the courtroom, clutching their baby.
Gibbons-Blair also works for Con Edison.
Shoppers at the busy Roosevelt Field Mall said they were taken aback.
“(A dressing room is a place of) privacy — somewhere you feel safe. You wouldn’t have to think about something like that,” said Garden City shopper Stephanie Creedon. “It’s disgusting”
Gibbons-Blair’s future as an auxiliary police officer and his employment with Con Ed are uncertain. If found guilty, he faces up to four years in prison and may have to register as a sex offender.MORE NEWS: How A Shocking Environmental Disaster Was Uncovered Off The California Coast After 70 Years
The NYPD said Gibbons-Blair’s job as an auxiliary officer is unpaid and volunteer.