Phone repairman accused of stealing explicit photos from customers
JEFFERSON CITY - A Jefferson City man is accused of invasion of privacy and possession of child pornography for allegedly taking sexually explicit photos off of customers' phones.
The 32-year-old man works at a cellular repair shop called iRepair in Jefferson City. Jefferson City Police did not release his name Friday.
Police arrested the man for first degree invasion of privacy and possession of child pornography because one of pictures he removed from a phone included a 16-year-old. Police released him from the Cole County Jail on bond, but charges were still pending.
Police said they began an investigation on June 11 when a Jefferson City woman said sexually explicit photos of her were shared between a group of people without her consent via text message. Police learned she had taken her phone to iRepair and began investigating its workers. Police seized the man's phone earlier in the week and discovered 18 photos of various women on his phone.
Police have identified three of the 18 women found on the phone so far. Police are working to identify 15 other women.
Jefferson City Police Department spokesperson Doug Shoemaker said the man used his own phone to take pictures of the pictures off of the victims' devices.
Shoemaker said he expects the charges will be released sometime next week.
"You know the issue here first of all is that everybody should have an expectation of privacy to their own stuff, you know their home, their possessions, and certainly their phones," Shoemaker said. "In this day and age our phones are our private things, we take them everywhere we use them for everything. So there is an expectation of privacy, and that shouldn't be violated."
He said people should be cautious of what content they keep on their devices.
"Safeguarding your own information is the best priority, but that doesn't lessen the fact or excuse at all the victimization in this case that's alleged," Shoemaker said.
The Jefferson City Police Department is asking anyone who may have taken electronics to iRepair between the late months of 2014 through June 2015 and feel they may be a victim to contact Detective Ambler at 573-634-6400.