Local News

Wilmington Man Arrested for Filming up Women's Skirts

Posted April 3, 1999

— A Wilmington man was arrested Saturday for allegedly filming up women's skirts at the N.C. State Fairgrounds.

Forty-eight-year-old Shady Rhett Bennett was charged with disorderly conduct and was released from jail on bond Sunday afternoon.

Police say he carried a shopping bag through the crowds looking for unsuspecting women, then he aimed the camera's lens up their skirts.

According to police, he was able to aim his video camera up the skirts of five or six women before he was caught in the act by an off-duty SBI agent.

Bennett was being very cautious and very sneaky, police say. The unsuspecting women at the fairgrounds probably never knew they were potential victims.

Officer Ray Ellis of the Fairgrounds police described how Bennett acted toward one shopper. "As he got closer, he started adjusting his bag, and then once he got right behind her, she was kind of at a slight angle, he attempted to drop his bag where it would be angled underneath her dress to videotape under her dress."

Last summer a Cary man was charged with misdemeanor assault on a female after being accused of videotaping up her skirt at the state fairgrounds.

That's why Jennifer Pipa was more wary Sunday afternoon.

"I don't think I'll let anybody get as close to me," said Pipa. "I think maybe I'll watch -- since I'm wearing a dress today -- and make sure I keep a little more personal distance between me and anyone else who comes up to me."

Officer Ellis said that with cameras that are so easy to hide, women need to watch out everywhere.

"This day and time, whether you're in a shopping mall or on the street, you don't know whose got what because these electronic devices are so small," he said.

Fairground police say there are several more tapes that Bennett shot. They have them in their possession and plan to look at them to see if more charges could be filed.

Bennett, police say, has no previous criminal record.


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