Sherwood Park, AB RCMP Cst. Wally Henry
Credits: DAVID BLOOM/QMI AGENCY
Strathcona County RCMP Const. Wally Henry says the mother of a 14-year-old girl noticed the bag in the Sherwood Park, AB store and called police Dec. 17.
"We responded and located the bag and the device inside," said Henry.
Mounties say detectives were able identify a suspect by analyzing the device and speaking to other people in the Sherwood Park Mall store, just east of Edmonton.
Mounties made the arrest Dec. 21 with the help of Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team's Internet Child Exploitation Unit.
Police searched suspect's home where they found an improperly stored firearm and ammunition. Henry said he does not believe the weapon was connected to the hidden camera use.
Henry said 13 recordings were made at multiple stores in Sherwood Park Mall and Londonderry Mall in Edmonton, but police do not suspect the crimes have gone on for long.
"The evidence that we have indicates that all 13 incidents took place on Dec. 17, on the one day," he said, adding there were no more recordings in the house and there is no evidence to suggest any footage has been posted online.
Forensics experts are studying the recording equipment now to confirm this.
Henry said this kind of crime does not happen often but the public should still take a moment to look around change rooms for anything that might look out of the ordinary.
"Sometimes that can be difficult to do but it's peace of mind for a person when they're in there," he said.
Joshua Meilleur, 27, from Edmonton, is charged with voyeurism, making child pornography, unsafe storage of a firearm, unsafe storage of ammunition and unsafe storage of a prohibited firearm magazine.
He was released on bail Wednesday with conditions, including a ban from the two malls where the alleged filming happened. He is also banned from using a computer to contact anyone under the age of 16, being in possession of a hand-held device capable of taking digital pictures and staying away from change rooms or locker rooms where people 16 or younger could be present.
His next court date has been scheduled for Feb. 13.