Monday, June 17, 2013
Police: Feasterville man with phone caught women tanning at Planet Fitness
Posted: Friday, May 17, 2013
She usually tans naked, but something that April night felt strange, so the woman left on her bra and underwear while in the tanning booth. Her instincts turned out to be right, police say.
The woman said she saw someone holding a cellphone over the wall of the tanning booth next to hers at Planet Fitness on Brownsville Road in Lower Southampton.
She reported the incident to club management, who reviewed video surveillance that showed a male club member following the woman into the tanning room section.
Police said it wasn’t the first time Joseph Clarke Jr. of Feasterville followed a woman to the booths and used his phone to secretly photograph or videotape her. He did it at least 27 times between April 16 and 25, they said. Once, he secretly photographed or videotaped a teenage girl, police said.
On Thursday, Clarke, 29, of the 1800 block of Bridgetown Pike, was arrested and charged with more than two dozen counts of attempted invasion of privacy and related charges in connection with the peeping Tom incidents. He was sent to Bucks County prison in lieu of 10 percent of $500,000 bail.
Three days after the woman reported her concerns to the gym management on April 22, Clarke entered the gym’s tanning booth area, and a manager called police.
While the manager was on the phone with police, a gym employee saw a hand with a phone reaching over a room divider into a tanning booth in the adjoining room, police said. After Clarke left the room, the employee investigated and found no one else in the room, police said.
Clarke, who joined the gym March 27, was also charged Thursday with two counts of loitering and prowling related to incidents in April and last week at the apartment complex where he lives, police said.
In the most recent incident, on May 10, police responded to a report of a man looking in a bedroom window of another apartment. A man who lives there with his girlfriend told police he saw the Peeping Tom when he went to get something out of his car.
The resident told police that the man, whom police say was Clarke, standing between a bush and his bedroom window looking at his girlfriend, who was folding laundry.
When Clarke noticed the man outside, he tried to hide and in the process broke electrical boxes on the ground, police said. The man attempted to confront Clarke, who ran away, police said.
Jo Ciavaglia: 215-949-4181; email: ciavaglia@phillyBurbs.com; Twitter: @jociavaglia