Local News

Retired Pharmacist Charged With Peeping

Posted April 21, 2008

— Police have charged a pharmacist from Johnston Memorial Hospital with peeping after finding him dressed in black and carrying a video camera outside a house at night.

Ben Pell was arrested on East Stevens Street in Smithfield on Saturday night after a woman reported seeing a shadow in her window, police said.

"As they approached the victim's house, they encountered the suspect coming out from behind the house,” Smithfield Police Chief Steven Gillikin said.

Gillikin said Pell was dressed unusually.

"Black jacket, black hat (and) wearing something over his face. So he was dressed to blend into the night,” Gillikin added.

Pell had a video camera with him, Gillikin told WRAL.

"When the officers confronted him about that, he pretty much told them what he had been doing and that he had been doing it for a while,”  he said.

Police recovered more than 240 videotapes during their investigation, but it was unclear Monday evening if all of the tapes involved peeping incidents. Pell told officers the tapes were made at the hospital, a health club and a beach.

“The officers were led to believe that probably some of them were compromising positions,” Gillikin said.

Officers were working Monday evening to obtain a search warrant to review the tapes and identify potential victims.

Pell retired from Johnston Memorial in 2005, but continued to work part-time at the hospital. Officials said they weren't immediately aware of any peeping incidents that occurred at the hospital.

WRAL stopped by Pell's house Monday evening, but nobody was home.

Pell's neighbors didn’t want to talk on camera. Several with whom WRAL spoke with said they were worried they could learn they were peeping victims.

Pell was released from the Johnston County Detention Center on a $25,000 bond.


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  • CSMs Alter Ego Apr 22, 2008

    "Is Peeping with a videocamera a stronger offense than say just "peeping""

    Yes, it's a felony. Regular peeping is a misdemeanor.


  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Apr 22, 2008

    He wasn't "peeping". He was just checking to see if her prescriptions were running low!

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Apr 22, 2008

    Sounds like this guy retired and took a stash of Viagra with him when he left.

  • thugsnightmare Apr 22, 2008

    He's just getting ready for his new career of being a "Private Eye"

  • dmtmom Apr 22, 2008

    According to the reading the most recent offense occured when he taped someone at their home.

  • WakeButterfly Apr 22, 2008

    I really feel sorry for what happenend to you.
    The thing is, even if he has hours of tapes of women who he videotaped (without their consent) nothing will happen because he videotaped them in a "public place". Until they change this law, this man will probably only get a warning.

  • Scarlet Apr 22, 2008

    Considering your response - tarheel alum - you missed my point with your callous and rude comments. Just because a woman chooses to speak out against crimes violating women, she is instantly bitter, scorned or ignorant? Perhaps you should open your eyes and read papers all over the country highlighting crimes against women and girls and you'll find that there are millions of women who have been injured, abused, raped and enslaved at the hands of men and yet the laws are lenient and punishments minor. It's amazing that there has to be a law created to show men that it isn't right to sexually harass women on the job and that enabled women to sue. My point is that men who victimize women need harsher punishment and this peeper's behavior would have probably escalated if he hadn't been caught. I guess your upset that now you won't be able to watch his downloaded peep video's on the internet which is where you do your peeping.

  • ncwebguy Apr 22, 2008

    People in small towns with nothing better to do. Keep telling yourself it is ok to keep the doors unlocked and the window shades up, and things like this only happen in big cities.

    Also, for some reason criminals in big cities should fry, yet someone with stacks of tapes (he's been doing this a while since he wasn't using DVDs or hard drive storage) should "get the help he needs." Selective compassion.

  • Scarlet Apr 22, 2008

    Hey Smitty,
    I bet if it was your wife or daughter this happened to, you would want the cops investigating and finding out what the video may contain in order to prosecute him. Go ahead with your snide doughnut jokes but your the exact example of a man who does not take women who are being violated seriously. I hope you get to experience for one day what it feels like to be a women in the patriarchal society.

  • Scarlet Apr 22, 2008

    This only serves to highlight the continual attacks and war on women in this country. Everyday is filled with another man's sick behavior and violation of women with only minor repurcussions and the media sugarcoats the real offenses using fluff words such as peep instead of violating women's privacy. When will this country wake up and change the laws and language to reflect what is truly happening to women. My own aunt who was paralized due to Mus. Distrophy was recently murdered by being beaten by her husband and guess what, he was able to post bail after a judge lowered it. Bet this guy gets a misdeaner charge but these women will continue to live with the feeling of being violated and videotape to boot.