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Crime & Courts

After man exposes himself in church, woman posts video of suspect peeping in mall bathroom

Anchorage police are looking for a man they say exposed himself Sunday in a downtown church and possibly peered at women in a nearby mall bathroom.

Surveillance footage of a man suspected of indecent exposure at Holy Family Cathedral, Sunday, April 8, 2018. (Photo provided by APD)

The incident inside the 5th Avenue Mall was filmed by a 20-year-old woman shopping with her mom. A clip she posted of the man looking over the top of a bathroom stall had been viewed nearly 60,000 times on Facebook as of Monday afternoon.

The trouble began Sunday morning, when a different woman reported to police that she had been in a prayer room at Holy Family Cathedral, 800 W. Fifth Ave., around 9:30 a.m. when a man "walked up behind her," the Anchorage Police Department said.

The woman "smelled a foul odor" and turned to see a man with his pants and underwear pulled down around his knees and his genitals exposed. She thought he might have been holding an object in his hand, possibly a weapon, a police statement said.

The victim fled the church, police said. The man didn't try to touch her. She described the suspect to police as in his early 30s, about 5 feet, 7 inches tall.

At around 2 or 3 p.m. Becca Evelyn Tokeinna and her mother were shopping at the 5th Avenue Mall, about four blocks from the church. They walked into a restroom near the food court on the top floor of the mall, the Tokeinna said.

A man reached under the stall door and touched her mother's leg, Tokeinna said.

"We left the bathroom," she said. "It didn't feel right."

Both women then returned, concerned about what might be happening, she said.

Tokeinna said she saw a man standing on top of a toilet appearing to look over the side of a bathroom stall. She pulled out her phone and took a picture.

"I said something like, 'Oh my gosh, gross!'" she said. "That's when he opened the door to the stall."

Becca Evelyn Tokeinna said she took this photo on April 8, 2018, in a bathroom of the 5th Avenue Mall when she said a person in a bathroom stall was looking over the divider to one that was occupied by her mother. (Becca Evelyn Tokeinna photo)

Tokeinna captured video of the man walking out of the bathroom. He didn't say anything back to her, she said. Her mother reported the incident to mall management.

Tokeinna put the video on her Facebook page thinking that just her friends would see it, she said.

But the clip has circulated widely online, fueled in part by groups that connected it to the result of Anchorage voters' recent rejection of the Proposition 1 "bathroom bill," which would have mandated that people use the restroom of their sex at birth.

"Caught at 5th Ave Mall in women's bathroom! And they said it just wouldn't happen!" the Anchorage Republican Women's Facebook group wrote in a post.

The behavior depicted in the video would be illegal regardless of the biological sex or gender identity of anyone involved, said Anchorage Police Department spokeswoman Renee Oistad.

"It is not legal for one person to spy on another person using the bathroom," she said.

Police have asked anyone who knows the suspect to call non-emergency dispatch at 3-1-1.

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