Campus police arrested a 17-year-old suspect who allegedly spied on at least two women in showers at University of California at Berkeley residence halls last week, a police spokesman said. The male teenager was arrested after a woman reported the fifth Peeping Tom case since February to campus police on April 18, Lt. Alex Yao said. The woman was taking a shower in the second-floor co-ed bathrooms in Beverly Cleary Hall at about 1:15 a.m. when she noticed a male teenager poking his head out from a third stall, Yao said. There was another woman showering in a separate stall at the time, he said. The first woman left the showers quickly and immediately reported it to police, Yao said.
Police arrived at the scene shortly afterward and arrested the juvenile, who is not affiliated with the university and was the guest of a Beverly Cleary Hall resident, he said. Officers suspect the teen might be the suspect in a case that happened about an hour earlier, at about 12:20 a.m., in a nearby residence hall, Yao said. Another female student was showering on the third floor of Deustch Hall when she saw a male teenager’s head poking above the partition, Yao said. She screamed, and the suspect ran away, he said.
The victim described the suspect as a male with spiky black hair, Yao said. Police are not ruling out that two separate suspects may be involved in these crimes but are questioning the teen because they occurred within an hour and within two blocks, Yao said. The other three Peeping Tom cases happened in Building 12 on the university’s residential Clark Kerr campus, he said. These cases, which happened on Feb. 5, March 15 and March 29, also involved showering female students, Yao said.
The victims all described seeing a male suspect who was holding a phone or device that was believed to be capturing photos or videos of the students, he said. The descriptions for the suspects in the Clark Kerr cases vary slightly and do not match the description of the teenager who was arrested last week, Yao said. Police are actively investigating all of the Peeping Tom cases and do not tolerate this disorderly conduct, Yao said.
It is difficult to determine if there has been an increase in these cases at UC Berkeley because many Peeping Tom incidents go unreported, he said. For instance, the two female victims of the Feb. 5 and March 15 incidents did not report the cases to police until the March 29 report was public, Yao said. Police advise students to pay attention to suspicious behavior and report it to police or officials in the residence halls, he said.
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