Crime

Police: Man facing charges for taking photos in women's bathroom may be involved in other incidents

Police: Man facing charges for taking photos in women's bathroom may be involved in other incidents

MADISON, Wis. - A Cottage Grove man is facing felony charges as prosecutors allege he took photos and video of women in a restroom at an east side Madison store this spring, and police say it may not be an isolated occurrence.

The court ordered 21-year-old Mitchell Brooks to stay out of any female restroom after his signature bond was set at $500 in court Monday morning in relation to an incident at the Burlington Coat Factory in March, according to court records.

"We've found in the past that individuals who engage in behavior similar to Mr. Brooks often do so on multiple occasions, not just on one victim or one occasion," said Officer Joseph Buccellato, acting as the public information officer for the Madison Police Department.

Police began investigating Mitchell Brooks this spring after a woman called them on March 28 to report a man in the women's bathroom of Burlington Coat Factory taking photos of her daughter, according to a criminal complaint filed in May.

According to a release from Madison police, the 14-year-old girl told her mother she noticed a cellphone slide under the stall she was using. The mother waited for several minutes to confront the man, according to a previous release by the Madison Police Department.

The complaint said video surveillance from the store showed a man appearing to be Brooks spent more than 20 minutes in the women's bathroom.

According to the complaint, Brooks "adamantly denied" taking photos of anyone in the bathroom. After getting a search warrant in April, detectives found a deleted video on Brooks' phone of a woman fitting the description of the mother in the bathroom stall, along with a handwritten note stating "seeking forgiveness for … filming women/girls in the bathroom."

Detective Andrew Naylor said Brooks was originally arrested on misdemeanor disorderly conduct in April. Court records show he was let out on bond before felony charges were added.

Brooks is facing counts of invasion of privacy with a surveillance device with a victim under the age of 18 and capturing an intimate representation without consent, along with disorderly conduct.

Detectives believe there may be past unreported incidents involving similar behavior. 

"The message we're asking is if anyone else has been a victim of any similar behavior, to please contact us and report it," Buccellato said.

The Monona Police Department is investigating a report of a man in a women's restroom at a park for an extended period of time about two weeks ago. When asked if the cases may be related, the department said it isn't able to comment on the case because it's an ongoing investigation, but ask anyone with information to give them a call.

Naylor said he's aware of the Monona incident, but can't comment because it isn't his jurisdiction and that he isn't actively working with any area departments on similar investigations.
 

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