Secret peeping suspect faces more charges after allegedly recording at ENC church

WINTERVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – There are new charges against a man police say was caught recording a female shopper in a retail store in Eastern Carolina. Law enforcement says he is now accused of the same crime at a Pitt County Church.

New technology makes it easy to discretely capture audio and video, but law enforcement says there are ways you can avoid situations like what happened in the Greenville Target earlier this week.

On Thursday, the Winterville Police Department says it charged Thomas Elliott with one count of felony secret peeping for a crime on March 13th at Opendoor Church.

The church says the 21-year-old is a former staff member.

Corporal Kelly Cox with the Craven County Sheriff’s Office says no matter where you are, it’s always important to be aware of your surroundings.

“When they’re going from point A to point B, whether it’s a store to the parking lot to their car, you scan your environment, you try to pick up on things. You have what I call the spider-sense, you have those hairs on the back of your neck, they’re there for a reason,” says Cox.

Elliott faces numerous charges after a woman recorded him putting his phone on the ground under another woman’s skirt at the Greenville Target on Monday.

In a statement, Opendoor Church said the victim is an employee.

It reads in part, “We are grateful for our local law enforcement and justice system and continue to work closely with them.”

In total, police say they have identified three separate victims at Target.

Elliott has been charged with a total of six counts of secret peeping.

Corporal Cox encourages all citizens to apply the ‘run, hide, fight scenario’ when away from home.

“If you see the threat and you can get away from the threat safely, run away. If there’s something between you and the threat, hide. And if you are going to have to face that threat head on, I don’t care if you are a 275 pound man or a an 80 pound woman, you need to fight like your life depends on it,” says Cox.

Greenville police spokesperson Kristen Hunter said Elliott was booked back into Pitt County Detention Center under a $10,000 bond.

A Pitt County School spokesperson confirmed Elliott was also a volunteer at Eastern Elementary School in Greenville but has been removed from that position.