On July 12, the Alexandria Police Department was contacted by the proprietor of a local gym who had discovered a suspicious device inside a women’s restroom. The device had the appearance of a phone charging block, but had a small lens on the outside and a micro SD card slot. The camera device was taken as evidence and was analyzed, and several photo and video images were found on the device, however there was no physical evidence that linked a suspect to the crime.
Detectives began investigating the matter and a person of interest was developed. Detectives contacted the person and interviewed him, however at the time there was not sufficient probable cause to charge him with a crime.
On August 29, detectives were alerted to a second recording device located at the same gym. This device had the appearance of an activity tracking bracelet, and was collected as evidence. On the same day, detectives identified the suspect and were able to obtain a search warrant for his house. During the search, two computers were collected as evidence for forensic analysis.
Detectives enlisted the help of the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office Detective Division for forensic extraction of evidence from the computers. One computer was processed on August 30, however it yielded no evidence. The second computer, processed on September 6, obtained 95 videos of women inside the gym. There are approximately 32 separate females depicted; it is apparent that none are aware they are being recorded.
On September 6, detectives obtained an arrest warrant for the suspect, Shane Carruth, 29, of Alexandria. He was located at his residence and was taken into custody without incident. He was transported to the Rapides Parish Detention Center, where he was charged with 95 counts of Video Voyeurism, eight of which were of victims under 17 years of age.
“We are relieved to have this suspect in custody and off the streets,” said Chief Jerrod King. “We want to ensure that everyone feels safe from predators, whether they are at the gym, the grocery store, walking in the park or anywhere else. But in the restroom or changing room, or any other place where someone expects a degree of privacy and safety from voyeuristic eyes, it’s particularly important that we identify these predators and get them behind bars. This type of behavior is very disturbing, and the fact that some of the victims were juveniles only makes it more troubling.
“The fact that this incident occurred more than once is troubling, and we are fortunate that this time there was sufficient evidence to link the suspect to the crime. Although at times, officers may have a ‘gut feeling’ or a ‘hunch,’ we have legal standards that we have to follow to make an arrest and have the case be prosecuted, and those standards simply weren’t met in July.
“I want to thank the owners and employees of CrossFit South Bank for their assistance in this case, and for bringing the matter to our attention. Yet another example of police and citizens working together to remove criminals from the streets. I also want to thank Sheriff Hilton and his detectives at RPSO for their help with the forensic analysis of the computers. And I especially want to thank and applaud the APD Detective Division-Person’s Crimes Unit for their superb work investigating this case.
“Lastly, I want to mention the lead investigator, Detective Jason Mouliere, and two detective supervisors, Sgt. Robert Distefano and Sgt. Carla Whitstine, for their tremendous work on this case.”
As yet, no bond has been set for Carruth.