Ex-employee of Forever 21 indicted for recording video of women in dressing rooms

Ex-employee of Forever 21 indicted for recording video of women in dressing rooms

An employee of Forever 21 in the Cross County Shopping Center in Yonkers used his cell phone to record illicit video of 23 women in the store’s changing rooms, Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino said in a Wednesday press release.

Bronx resident Heriberto Polanco, 27, was indicted on 48 counts related to recording the video, the DA said.

Police were first called on Aug. 28, 2019, when an alleged victim observed a cell phone on a shoe with its camera lens aimed into her dressing room. The victim began to scream, and her nearby sister identified Polanco allegedly running out of the dressing room area. After calling the police, the victim’s sister was able to identify Polanco from a double-blind photo array organized by the Yonkers Police Department.

Polanco was later questioned by Yonkers police, and admitted to attempting to record the victim changing clothing, according to the DA’s statement. Polanco also admitted to taking video of other female customers without permission throughout the month of August 2019. Forensic analysis later confirmed that while no video was taken of the victim who screamed, the camera app was in use at the time, the statement said. Polanco used the mobile app Gallery Vault, whose purpose is to privately store photo and video on a phone. Experts recovered 23 illicit videos of women from Polanco’s phone and determined that all were taken at Forever 21, Polanco’s place of employment from March to September 2019.

Polanco was arraigned on Oct. 21 for unlawful surveillance, with 24 charges designated for “amusement/profit” as well as 24 charges for “no legitimate purpose,” according to the DA. The 48 charges are all class E felonies.

Marissa Morra-Wynn, Superior Court trial division assistant district attorney in the sex crimes bureau, is prosecuting the case.