WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — When a West Michigan mom saw Wyoming police pop up on her caller ID, she figured it was a scam call.
“I would normally let an unknown call like that go to voicemail, but I was feeling just sassy enough to answer it,” explained the woman, who did not want to be identified by name.
“’Someone’s in detention. You need to bail them out. Go buy some iTunes gift cards,’” she predicted the caller would say as she answered the phone.
But this was no scam.
The caller was about to deliver shocking news: Wyoming Police had arrested a Kentwood man for secretly recording upskirt videos at a Meijer store in Wyoming, and the woman who nearly didn’t answer her phone was among his alleged victims.
“She asked me if I shopped at this particular (Meijer) store,” the woman recalled. “I was still very reluctant and leery, wondering why they’d be asking me this.”
That’s when Detective Tiffany Curtis of Wyoming Public Safety texted the frequent Meijer shopper a surveillance photo.
“She sort of proved herself by sending me a photo of myself to my phone that showed me exiting the store on the day in question,” the Wyoming resident recalled, noting she had no recollection of that particular shopping trip.
The working mom thinks she probably stopped in on a whim when she had a couple spare minutes without her young children in tow.
The detective went on to explain the reason for her out-of-the-blue call.
“Apparently someone was following me in the store and using their cell phone camera to take pictures up my dress,” said the woman. “I was stunned and surprised, in disbelief.”
Wyoming Public Safety said John Marcus Moore, 27, surreptitiously recorded two women on Sept. 13 at the Meijer on Clyde Park Avenue SW at 54th Street.
In early November, Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker charged Moore, of Kentwood, with three felonies, including two counts of capturing/distributing an image of an unclothed person and one count of surveilling an unclothed person.
‘CROUCHING DOWN BEHIND VICTIM’
Wyoming Public Safety told Target 8 store surveillance video shows Moore recorded the upskirt video of the woman as she shopped by “crouching down behind the victim” and holding his phone under her dress for a few seconds before backing away.
“She was not in the checkout,” Curtis told Target 8. “She was out shopping in the store … The victim was just focused on her shopping and not aware.”
The woman told Target 8 she doesn’t recall anything unusual happening during the shopping trip, which she hardly remembers in the first place.
“I was probably checked out, enjoying my alone time, oblivious to anything else that was going on around me,” she explained.
Curtis said, according to surveillance video, Moore roamed around the store for two hours and, at points, appeared to be following women.
“He had a small (grocery cart) with some goods (in it),” Curtis said.
Moore may have gone undetected had he not entered the women’s bathroom at the back of the store.
“The security footage showed that he lingered outside of the women’s restroom for a little bit of time,” Curtis said. “After the (second) victim entered, he followed in after her.”
That woman reported spotting Moore’s head and eyes peeking over a bathroom stall.
“The female had been in the restroom and just noticed this male … peering over a stall … and he’s suspected of having filmed while (in the bathroom),” the detective said.
After leaving the restroom, the woman immediately reported the incident to a Meijer employee.
Through store surveillance video and other means, Wyoming Public Safety worked with Meijer to identify Moore and his unsuspecting victims after securing a search warrant for his cell phone.
‘AN URGE TO RECORD THEM’
“John Moore admitted to recording (both women) on 9/13/23 without their knowledge,” wrote Curtis in a probable cause affidavit filed in Wyoming District Court. “He did not know these women, but stated he had an urge to record them when he saw them. An extraction of John’s phone was completed and yielded the videos as described. The women’s buttocks are visible in the videos he took. Additionally, prior to recording (the bathroom victim), John peered over the bathroom stall and viewed (her) while she was using the restroom.”
Outside a court hearing Wednesday, Moore admitted the offense to Target 8 investigator Susan Samples as well.
He told her he “wasn’t in his right mind” when he recorded the women and insisted that he no longer has the temptation to do so.
Moore said getting arrested was enough to halt any such urges.
State police records show no prior criminal history for Moore.
At the time of the alleged offense, Moore was employed by Meijer, working at one of the grocery giant’s factories.
“While we do not comment on the specifics of security issues, I can confirm we are aware of the case and upon investigating and confirming (Moore’s) role in the situation, the team member was immediately terminated,” wrote Frank Guglielmi, senior director of corporate communications for Meijer. “We continue to work closely with local law enforcement on the investigation.”
Moore is the second recent, high-profile public peeper case in Kent County.
In July, prosecutors charged Matthew Kurtz, 33, of Rockford, with taking upskirt pictures at the 28th Street Walmart.
The Kent County Sheriff’s Department said it found 17,000 images — taken or saved — on Kurtz’s device.
Both men are out on bond while their cases progress through the court system.
If convicted, Moore could face up to five years in prison.
“I think it’s just a good reminder for everyone to remain vigilant when they’re out and about,” Curtis said, adding that it’s especially important during the busy holiday shopping season. “Don’t become so focused on what’s in the front of you that you’re no longer focusing on your surroundings. Just always try to pay attention to what’s going on.”
‘I DO FEEL VIOLATED’
It’s advice the woman who was recorded in the store said she definitely intends to follow.
“I do feel violated … I was going about my business and didn’t invite anyone to help themselves to images that now I don’t know where they are or where they will be from here on out. Yeah, I do feel violated.”
If you have additional information about Moore, Wyoming Public Safety asks that you call them or Silent Observer at 616.530.7335 or 616.774.2345, respectively.