Monday, May 21, 2018
Public safety

Man charged with video voyeurism at several locations in Hernando

BROOKSVILLE — One day last November, a woman reading a magazine in the Walmart on Broad Street sensed movement under her dress.

She turned around and saw a man investigators say was Eric John Walters.

"There he was on his knees with his hand up her dress," said Brooksville police Chief George Turner.

The woman yelled and chased Walters, who had a smartphone in his hand. He got away, but the woman reported the incident and detectives tracked down Walters using the store's surveillance video.

They arrested him on Nov. 24 on a charge of video voyeurism and got a search warrant for his mother's house on Fruitville Street, west of Brooksville, where they seized his phone, computer and video cards.

Evidence showed Walters had shot video of at least 10 other women in local stores, said Detective Tracey Schofield.

Detectives were able to identify six of the women. On Thursday, police announced they were charging Walters, 39, with 27 more counts of video voyeurism, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Walters' footage was date and time stamped, but it took some time to find the right stores, scan surveillance video and identify the women.

Five of the women identified had been at the Publix store at Barclay Avenue and Spring Hill Drive, Schofield said. The sixth incident occurred at the Publix on County Line Road near the Suncoast Parkway. Police are still trying to identify a woman who was at the Warehouse Wine & Liquor store on Anderson Snow Road about 8:20 p.m. Oct. 5.

Detectives are also still investigating incidents that took place at Kohl's on Spring Hill Drive and the Target store next door.

None of the women realized Walters had taken video of them until contacted by police, Schofield said.

Walters was bold, the detective said. Surveillance footage shows him following the women to the checkout line and grabbing an item off the shelf while pretending to talk on his phone. Then, Walters would bend over and slip the phone under the dress or skirt.

Walters also has committed other crimes over the past couple of months, investigators say.

Earlier in November, he was charged with indecent exposure after a woman said she saw him masturbating in a van at a Spring Hill Circle K and then followed her down the road, according to Hernando Sheriff's Office reports.

On Dec. 2, five days after he posted bail on the video voyeurism charge, he was charged with battery. He has been held without bail since then.

Times news researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.

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