SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - A Tempe man has been arrested after police say he was peeping into windows of homes. Police say he used a popular social media app to find his targets.
Police say 34-year-old Steven Anthony Spoon posed as a teenage girl on Snapchat to befriend and track down some of his victims.
Parents and friends of the victims say Spoon used the Snap Map feature on Snapchat and was able to pinpoint their exact location.
"It’s heartbreaking. As a parent you want to keep them safe," another mother agreed.
"And one girl in the friend group accepted it," one of the moms explained. "Everyone else said, 'Hey she’s a friend of my friend,' so I’ll accept it.”
The investigation into Spoon began in 2018, according to court documents, when Scottsdale Police started receiving calls about a man looking through windows.
Thanks to a tip, police were able to get a license plate number, and started monitoring Spoon's movements through his phone's GPS.
On Wednesday, they tracked him to a gated Scottsdale neighborhood, where police say he jumped a fence and entered a backyard.
Officers quickly caught up to him and arrested him.
One 13 year old girl who lives in that neighborhood says Spoon had been following several of her friends on Snapchat through his alleged fake account,
She wonders if he was in their neighborhood for them that night.
"Kind of like freaked out about it, because they always come over, so I'm like maybe he came to my house. And it's like kind of creepy and nerve wracking," she said.
One father, who wants to remain anonymous, said he relieved by the arrest.
"That guy took things. He took safety from us," he said. "We're a pretty buttoned-up house. We have surveillance cameras. We have German shepherds. So, when they're barking at everything, or the dogs are moving through the yard, it's nerve-wracking. It's been a nerve-wracking thing that wasn't a nerve-wracking thing our whole lives."
"One of the parts that strikes us is that some of the victims didn't even know they were a victim. We were able to place him through investigation that he had been in backyards of these different residents, and the unsettling fact is that it had gone on to those people who didn't even know," said Scottsdale Police Department spokesman, Detective Kevin Watts.
Many of these residents had one or more teenage girls living in the home, Watts said.
One father said his daughter was having a sleepover with her friends, ranging in age from 13 to 15 years old.
"The girls all run over into our bedroom, the master bedroom, and said, 'Somebody is looking in the window at us,'" said the father, who described grabbing his bat and running outside. "We rolled back our surveillance camera and there was a guy jumping over our fence, leaving our yard."
Once in custody, Watts says Spoon admitted to targeting homes of teenage girls for the purpose of viewing them changing or showering. Spoon told police he used parkour to enter backyards, front yards and side yards of victims.
Spoon said it is "parkour with a motive" and it gives him sexual stimulation. He admitted that he never meant to harm or scare anyone. He told police that he would never have gone further than looking into the windows and that he wants to get therapy for his "addiction."
[PROTECT YOURSELF: How to disable Snap Map feature on Snapchat]
Watts says the investigation is still ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact the Scottsdale Police Department at 480-312-5000. (Click the phone number to call from this story on your mobile device.)
Scott Pietrzak, owner of Online Safety Specialists, says parents should make sure the location settings on their children's Snapchat apps are turned off.
"It should be very concerning to parents, and that should be a wake-up call to parents to start looking at their kids' phones whether they like it or not," said Pietrzak.