Man arrested for upskirting at Mesa Walmart store

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Deion Avery, 19 (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Deion Avery, 19 (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Deion Avery at his initial court appearance (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Deion Avery at his initial court appearance (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A Mesa man is facing felony charges after a woman caught him trying to take cell phone photos up her skirt.

Police arrested Deion Hosteen Avery, 19, at a Mesa Walmart Friday evening.

When officers arrived at the store, they first spoke with the on-duty manager. According to court paperwork, that person “was following the suspect through the store via surveillance cameras.”

The arresting officer wrote in his probable cause statement that a woman had contacted the store’s management about Avery and his behavior.

Avery “was seen on video by the manager using his phone to take photographs of other female customers of their buttocks,” according to court documents.

[WATCH RAW VIDEO: Deion Avery's initial court appearance]

The woman who complained to the store about Avery told police what happened.

“She told me she was in the candy aisle and noticed the defendant standing really close behind her,” the arresting officer wrote. “She turned around and saw he was facing away from her, crouching down, with his cell phone held in such way that the camera was facing under her skirt.”

According to court paperwork, Avery followed the woman when she went to the end of the aisle.

“Once again she caught him standing with his back to her, crouching down,” the arresting officer wrote. “This time she turned around quickly and saw the cell phone in his hand, camera eye pointed up her skirt, and his hand over the face, with what appeared was his finger on the button.”

This kind of behavior is known as upskirting. 

"Upskirting often occurs by voyeurs who carry small video cameras or cell phones with photo capability in escalators in public places, outdoor parks, and shopping malls," according to USLegal.com. "Because upskirting occurs in public places, there is a legal debate over whether the victim is entitled to a reasonable expectation of privacy."

While laws vary state to state, it is illegal in Arizona to take surreptitious photos or videos of a person "[i]n a manner that directly or indirectly captures or allows the viewing of the person's genitalia, buttock or female breast, whether clothed or unclothed, that is not otherwise visible to the public." Upskirting falls into that definition (ARS § 13-3019).

Officers detained Avery as he was leaving the store.

“The defendant admitted he was not there to shop,” according to the arresting officer. “He came into the store with intent to take photographs on his phone of women. The defendant admitted to having an obsession with women. He knew what he was doing was wrong, but he did it anyway.”

It's not clear is Avery has a criminal history.

Avery was released on his owned recognizance but has to wear an ankle monitor. He is due back in court on Oct. 20 for a status conference and Oct. 27 for a preliminary hearing.

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