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Gabriel Wood accused of peeping at teen in Target dressing room

7:37 PM, May 18, 2011   |    comments
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By Talia Kaplan

Arnold, MO (KSDK) - Police say a man convicted of taking pictures of girls in women's dressing rooms is allegedly at it again.

The victim's mother, who wants to remain anonymous, says her 14-year-old daughter was in the dressing room of the Target in Arnold when she noticed someone taking pictures of her daughter while she was trying on bathing suits.

"I couldn't believe what I just saw. It frightened me," said the victim's mother.

Arnold police say the Target dressing room was set up as one big room, with a divider between the male and female side. They say there is a gap between the dressing room wall and the ceiling where someone can peer over the divider.

Target officials say the Arnold Target store recently underwent a remodeling.  The store currently has a unisex fitting room and the dressing room walls still do not reach the ceiling.

Arnold police say Gabriel Wood of Imperial is now charged with invasion of privacy.

When asked how her daughter is doing, the victim's mother responded, "She is upset. She doesn't trust a lot of situations that a 14 year old would normally. She had an adult thing happen to her and she is just a child."

The teen is seeing a counselor to help cope.

Police say Wood, 28, has a history of taking pictures of women in dressing rooms.

"Mr. Wood has three prior convictions for invasion of privacy and he has been confined in the past for 19 months for that charge," said Det. Sgt. Joseph DeRoode with the Arnold Police Department.

Police believe there are more of Wood's victims out there.

"Through the investigation we obtained a search warrant and upon viewing the suspect's phone, we were able to obtain multiple photos of unidentified females off of his phone," said Det. Sgt. DeRoode.

Police say Wood usually commits the crimes in stores like Target.

When the victim's mother was asked how she felt about how Target handled the whole situation she said, "I felt like they just really didn't care. I felt like it was an apology and see you later."

The family plans on filing a civil lawsuit against the store and has hired attorney Robert Pedroli.

"The dressing areas should have privacy and it should extend from the floor to the ceiling. It should be secure and that is how retailers should operate. They invite you to change and take your clothes off and when they do that they need to execute reasonable care and make sure environment is appropriate," said Pedroli.

Target released this response: "Target cares about the safety and security of our guests and team members. We partnered with law enforcement on this case."

The Arnold Police Department is asking anyone who has had contact with Wood or believes was photographed by him to come forward so that they can continue their investigation. You can contact the Arnold Police Department at 636-282-2384.

 

KSDK

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