Local News

Retired Pharmacist Charged With Peeping

Posted April 21, 2008 3:34 p.m. EDT
Updated April 21, 2008 10:53 p.m. EDT

— 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.