Man accused of filming girl inside Tempe store’s fitting room (Kenneth Wong)
4 Min Read

Tempe Police officials say they have arrested a man who allegedly filmed an underage girl inappropriately.

The incident happened at a clothing store inside a mall in the East Valley city, and the suspect is accused of committing multiple criminal offenses.

Here are the details.

Who’s the suspect?

Matthew Villalobos (Courtesy: Tempe Police)

Court documents identified the suspect as 28-year-old Matthew Gabriel Villalobos of Bullhead City.

What happened?

As we mentioned earlier, the alleged incident happened at a clothing store. Court documents state the incident happened on March 27, and the clothing store is located inside Arizona Mills mall.

Officers responded to the scene after a 17-year-old girl called police, stating that a man had been taking pictures of her while she was in the store’s fitting room.

After officers arrived, the girl said she was in a fitting room when she noticed the person in the next fitting stall had put a soda on the partition’s upper ledge.

“Soon after, while she was changing, she noticed a cell phone drop off ltheedge and onto the floor of her fitting room,” read a portion of the court documents. “She looked at the phone and saw that it was actively recording a video.”

The girl, per investigators, stopped the video recording, and look at the phone’s photo gallery, which contained 10 to 12 pictures of the girl in naked and changing.

“She deleted the pictures, came out the fitting room and told her friend, who was standing outside of her fitting room,” court documents state. “She gave the phone to her friend, who then gave it to employees, who kept it in the drawer until police arrived.”

Police officials said when they spoke with Villalobos, he said he was in the fitting room to try on clothes, and had placed his soda and phone on the upper ledge of the partition, so that it won’t be on the ground.

“When he grabbed his soda, he accidentally dropped his cellphone into the neighboring fitting room,” investigators wrote. “He came out about 30 seconds later, and asked employees if his cellphone had been turned in. Soon after, police arrived.”

Villalobos, according to police, gave officers two unlock codes for the phone, but neither worked. Investigators also note that they have not seen any pictures or videos on the phone.

What is the suspect being accused of?

Court documents state that Villalobos is accused of a count of attempted surreptitious recording (A.R.S. 13-3019A2) and a count of sexual exploitation of a minor (A.R.S. 13-3553A1) Both are felonies.

According to the documents, Villalobos has a history of prior encounters with the law, but those records were redacted from the documents we received.

A judge in Maricopa County has set a $5,000 cash-only bond for Villalobos, and a preliminary hearing has been scheduled for April 5.

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Latest News | FOX 10 , 2024-03-30 04:53:57
Tags: Crime Publicsafety,Crime Files,News,Us,Az,Maricopa County,Tempe,Us,Az,Mohave County

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