EDWARDSVILLE, IL (KTVI) – The Illinois State Police and the FBI are investigating a respected police officer, accused of secretly videotaping customers undressing at the Image Sun Tanning Center in Glen Carbon, Illinois.
‘It is a horrible invasion of privacy, just a despicable kind of act,’ said Madison County State’s Attorney Thomas Gibbons.
The officer under arrest is 46-year old Michael R. Collins, a senior patrol officer who has been on the force in Edwardsville since 1997.
He has also been a fifth grade DARE officer for the past 13 years at several Edwardsville elementary schools.
But on April 3, Officer Collins found himself in the back seat of a patrol car, charged with secretly taping at least three customers undressing at the tanning center.
Police were called after a female customer made the disturbing discovery.
‘In the reflection in the mirror she saw a camera phone over the top of the wall taking video of her. At that time she alerted the tanning booth owners and called police,’ said Illinois State Police Master Sergeant Dave Wasmuth.
Collins was arrested when Glen Carbon officers found video of the victim undressing on his department issued cell phone.
Illinois State Police investigators say they have since identified similar video of two other victims on that same phone, though there are more videos of victims still unidentified.
A spokesperson for the salon would say only that they are cooperating with the investigators.
‘I guess it doesn`t surprise me because you hear so much about things these days where people you are supposed to trust and you find out you cant but it doesn`t change my feelings about coming here,’ said customer Rosanna Ricketts, who is not among the victims.
‘It is really unfortunate for one rotten apple like this to try and spoil the good name and the good work that our public servants do perform everyday,’ said Gibbons.
Collins is charged with three counts of Unauthorized Video Recording. If convicted, he could face up to three years in prison on each count.
He is free on a $10,000 bond and is on paid suspension from the Edwardsville Police Department
The state`s attorney stresses Officer Collins was not on duty at the time of the alleged incident, and that there is no reason to believe Collins had done anything inappropriate while serving as a DARE officer.
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