Durham Regional Police Service is investigating after a man was alleged to have secretly videotaped several women at the Oshawa Centre on February 14.
Stephanie Cottrell was at the Oshawa Centre with a friend on Valentine’s Day when she saw a man suspiciously walking behind a couple of women.
“I looked back at him because, out of curiosity I just wanted to know what he looked like, and as I happened to look back I saw that he was recording them,” said Cottrell.
Cottrell says that her friend then went over to the women being recorded and they then confronted the man.
“As he’s turning I saw that he deleted the video and he literally turned 180 degrees and walked out,” said Cottrell.
That’s when Cottrell decided to follow him, recording him racing to his vehicle. The video has since gone viral.
“Filming people in public is not illegal but using those images to focus on a particular part of a person’s body in an exploitive way or a sexual way is an issue,” said Dave Selby, Durham Regional Police Service.
Police are now investigating but haven’t made any arrests.
They told Global News they have an idea of who the man is and are combing through mall security footage.
“This area has been a bit of a grey area in Canada in terms of interpretation of the law but on February 14, the Supreme Court made a decision on voyeurism and helped clarify what it means. So we’re going to be reviewing that decision in detail and see if it can apply to this incident,” said Selby.
This is not the first time this kind of incident has taken place at the Oshawa Centre. Late last year, a man was arrested, accused of filming men using the washroom at the mall and police were looking for two men after photos were taken of a teenager in the mall washroom.
Oshawa Centre general manager Chris Keillor responded to the latest incident with this statement:
“The safety and security of our customer is of the utmost importance to Oshawa Centre. Our security team will monitor closely and intervene if necessary. We encourage our guests to immediately report suspicious behaviours to our security team who works closely with Durham Regional Police Services on these matters.”
As for Cottrell, she posted the video to raise awareness; hoping to deter this kind of behaviour and encourage more people to keep a lookout for it.
“I’m pretty paranoid to go out in public, to be honest. I just assume that somebody is always watching,” said Cottrell.