A man accused of filming under a woman's skirt placed a live cellphone on the floor near her at Walmart, a Columbus police detective testified Wednesday in Recorder's Court.
Ray Faisal Lateef, who surrendered to police on Tuesday and represented himself in court, pleaded not guilty to three counts of felony use or installation of device to film inside the 6475 Gateway Road store. Judge Michael Joyner set bond at $15,000 on the three charges and bound them over to Muscogee Superior Court.
Mark Scruggs, a detective in the Special Victims Unit, which includes Sex Crimes, said police were called to the store about 5:25 p.m. on May 17 after a woman felt something wasn’t right about an encounter with a man in one of the isles while shopping. The loss prevention staff reviewed the store video and learned a man used his cellphone to tape under a woman’s skirt.
The woman said a man hit her on the back allegedly to remove a spider. The store video shows the woman shopping in the isle and Lateef entering the same area while looking back at the woman.
As he walks closer to the woman, Lateef has a cellphone visible in his hand and it’s active as the phone films under the woman’s skirt, Scruggs said.
Scruggs said the phone is then placed on the floor shortly before the victim steps on it. “He said he dropped the phone,” the detective testified.
Police contacted Lateef about the incident but didn’t tell him about the store video. The suspect said he was trying to help the woman with a spider on her back but later said he used his cellphone. “He didn’t know about the video,” Scruggs said.
Lateef, 37, has an extensive criminal history with previous charges of armed robbery and numerous traffic offenses, Scruggs said. He lives in Muscogee County and travels the country as a trucker.
To get bond, Lateef said the charges were from 10 years ago. “I’ve been straight,” he said. “I don’t do that stuff anymore.”
Matt Brown, the assistant district attorney, said Ray must stay away from the victim if he makes bond and not return to Walmart.
“Walmart is off limits to you,” Joyner said.
Scruggs said if the incident had been reported less than a year ago it would have been a misdemeanor. Lateef is charged under a new law , a felony, that went into effect on July 1, 2017.