Mom: Peeper shot photos of my son using the restroom

Mom: Peeper shot photos of my son using the restroom »Play Video
Surveillance camera footage shows the man suspected of using a smartphone to shoot photos or video of an 11-year-old boy in a store restroom.
PORT ORCHARD, Wash. - An 11-year-old boy's trip to the bathroom took a frightening turn when someone got way too close to him with a camera in the stalls at a local Fred Meyer store, says the boy's alarmed mother.

Now police say they need the public's help before anyone else becomes a victim - amid fears that the same thing may have happened to other children before this.

The boy's mom says her 11-year-old caught a man taking his picture in the restroom of a Fred Meyer store in Port Orchard on Thursday.

In an interview with KOMO News, she says the scene was chaotic inside the store immediately after the frightened boy ran from the restroom - and that's how the suspect got away.

"I was sick to my stomach," says the boy's mother, Anita, who didn't want her last name used to protect her son. "Someone was trying to take pictures of him using the bathroom."

She is asking everyone to look out for the man in a surveillance photo released by Port Orchard police.

The boy told his mother that someone slowly slid a smartphone out from under a nearby stall when he used the restroom.

"He saw a phone, a black phone with a black rubber protective case, and camera side up," she says. "He never heard it click or anything."

Anita says she immediately told store managers. Police confirm that store security contacted the suspect, but did not detain him - nor did they get his license plate number. And in the confusion that followed, the man escaped before police arrived.

A detective reportedly tried to track down the suspect.

"Trying to determine whether the suspect purchased something using a club card or a charge card," says Cmdr. Geoffrey Marti of the Port Orchard Police Department. "However, apparently he paid cash."

Police believe this was no accident. They say the wall of the stall is simply too close to the floor.

"I believe this is a classic case of violation of voyeurism," says Marti.

The manager of the Port Orchard Fred Meyer store had no comment on the case. A spokesman for the chain says workers did everything according to their policy and the company is doing everything it can to cooperate in the investigation.

Meanwhile, the boy's mother worries that her son is not the first victim.

"I want to make sure this guy is brought to justice," she says.

Local police are checking with other local retailers - but so far there are no other local reports of voyeurism.