PANORAMA CITY, CA — Los Angeles detectives have arrested a Monrovia man after he was seen by a customer pointing his cellphone under a woman’s skirt in line at a Panorama City convenience store, April 3, 2013. His actions were also captured on video tape.
“It’s pretty disturbing to think what this man did,” said Lt. Paul Vernon, commanding officer of the Mission Detective Division. “In most cases, these crimes are never seen and rarely reported. Thankfully, another customer saw the man.”
The female witness never confronted the man in the store, but followed the victim to the parking lot and told the fellow customer what happened. The victim took pictures of the man in his car and of the car’s license plate. After running down the car’s owner and several other contacts, detectives identified Joaquin Cortes Rodriguez, 33, as a possible suspect. The 27-year-old victim was able to pick his image out of a line up.
Detectives spoke to Rodriguez at his home and were able to use his statement and the other evidence to get an arrest warrant. Rodriguez was booked April 12 on a misdemeanor Peeping Tom charge and his bail was set at $50,000. A federal immigration hold was placed on him as he had been previously deported and re-entered the country.
“This case shows how widespread cameras really are; there are cameras watching cameras,” Lt. Vernon added. “And thanks to the observant witness and the quick actions of the victim, we have a good reminder for men: Be a gentleman! And ask yourself how would you feel if this happened to your sister or daughter?”
The convenience store is located in the area of Roscoe Boulevard and Ventura Canyon Boulevard. Surveillance video from the store is available to be viewed by media by coming to the Mission Police Station. Detectives are asking that the image of the women in the video be pixelated.
Anyone with information on this crime is urged to call Detective Stephen Bell, Mission Sex Unit, at 818-838-9971. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls can be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crimestoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to www.LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.