Crime

Man accused of taking up-skirt images at Bellingham store called out by witnesses

A man suspected of taking photos or video up a teenager’s skirt in public on Saturday morning, Aug. 13, was jailed soon after a witness called him out.

Gaspar Ortiz-Ortiz, 36, was arrested and booked into the Whatcom County Jail just before noon Saturday on suspicion of voyeurism. He posted $10,000 bond on Sunday afternoon, according to jail records.

He was formally charged just before 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 17, according to charging papers.

Police responded to the WinCo Foods grocery store at 300 E. Bellis Fair Parkway at about 11 a.m. Saturday, said Bellingham police Sgt. Claudia Murphy. Witnesses told police Ortiz-Ortiz had held a cellphone underneath a teenager’s skirt in such a manner that it looked like he was taking photos or videos up the skirt, Murphy said.

The girl is 17 years old, according to charging papers.

A woman who saw what Ortiz-Ortiz was allegedly doing confronted him about it. The confrontation alerted other customers and store staff to the incident, and store employees were able to keep Ortiz-Ortiz there until police arrived.

Murphy could not say if any photos or videos had been found on the man’s phone, as the case remains under investigation.

“The witness who saw what was happening made the absolute right decision to say something,” Murphy said. “Had no one spoken up, this young woman would never had known that an inappropriate picture had been taken of her.”

Kyle Mittan: 360-756-2803, @KyleMittan

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