Man Charged for Recording Women Undressing at Forever 21

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YONKERS, NY  – Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr. announced that Heriberto Polanco of the Bronx was indicted on 48 counts of recording videos of unknowing customers in the Forever 21 dressing rooms in the Cross County Shopping Center store in Yonkers. Polanco was an employee of the store at the time.

Polanco was arraigned today before Westchester County Court Judge Anne E. Minihan. He was indicted Sept. 30 by a Westchester County Grand Jury on the following charges:

  • 24 counts of Unlawful Surveillance 2: Use/Install Imaging Device for Amusement/Profit, class E felony
  • 24 counts of Unlawful Surveillance 2: Use Imaging Device for No Legitimate Purpose, class E felony

Following arraignment, Polanco was released on his own recognizance. His next court date is schedule for January 2021.

Background
Aug. 28, 2019, at approximately 7:15 p.m., the victim was trying on clothes in a fitting room at Forever 21 in the Cross County Shopping Center in Yonkers when she observed a cell phone resting on a sneaker just outside her fitting room with the camera lens aimed up into her dressing room. The victim started screaming and immediately called out to her 13-year-old sister who had been waiting just outside the dressing rooms. The victim’s sister saw a man, identified as Heriberto Polanco, a Forever 21 employee, running out of the dressing rooms. The victim immediately called the police who developed the defendant as a suspect. The victim’s sister was then able to positively identify Polanco from a double-blind photo array.

On Sept. 10, 2019, Polanco was questioned by Yonkers Police and admitted to placing his phone under the victim’s dressing room stall and attempting to record her changing in and out of clothes. Polanco also admitted to recording other female customers in the dressing rooms of Forever 21 without their permission during August 2019.

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A search warrant was obtained for his cell phone. Forensic analysis revealed that although no video or photo was actually captured on Aug. 28, 2019 at approximately 7:15 p.m. when the victim screamed for help and called police, the camera function of the phone was in use during that time. Additionally, the forensic analysis revealed Polanco used a mobile application called “Gallery Vault,” which is used to secretly store photos and videos on a phone. Forensics experts recovered 23 clearly surreptitious videos of women from the defendant’s phone and determined all to have been taken at Forever 21 from March 2019 through September 2019.

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