FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – Fort Lauderdale Police are looking for a suspect accused of using his cell phone to take pictures of women in the changing room of a clothing store.
Dubbed “Dirty Santa,” he was last seen wearing a santa hat, two weeks before Christmas, hanging out by the bras and panties at the Bealls Outlet in Fort Lauderdale in the 900 block of State Road 84. Surveillance video from inside the store shows the suspect appearing to be on the prowl the whole time.
“He appears to have located a victim,” notices Fort Lauderdale Police detective Travis Mandell as he watches surveillance video.
On the video, he is seen heading toward the dressing room. His target, police say, is two young girls. Investigators say he followed them in, hid, pulled out a camera and began snapping pictures.
He was caught in the act by the girls’ mother. “The victims’ mother actually catches him in the act, taking these photographs,” Mandell says. “(She) begins to chase him, along with store security, chasing him out of the store. “
With a line of people chasing him – he dropped the camera – but kept going—able to lose everyone.
“It’s shocking! it’s not safe,” says Annette Joseph, shaking her head and she and her daughter get out of the car ready to go shopping.
Episodes like this scare Joseph – especially when she’s shopping with her little girl. But she and her daughter Jovanie already have a pretty good system down.
“If I’m in this place and changing,” says her daughter Jovanie Cadtely. “I open the door and tell my mom to come in and she’ll come in like, because she’s guarding the door. “
Police hope someone will recognize this guy soon, they want him off the streets fast.
“He openly went to the dressing rooms and began taking picture in a public place. This guy is a menace!” warns Det. Mandell. “He needs to be identified and brought to justice. “
If you have any information that can help investigators find him, give Broward Crimestoppers a call 954-493-TIPS.