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Couple accused of recording female victims in restroom over two years

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WATERVLIET, NY (WRGB) - Watervliet police are working to identify victims who were videotaped without their knowledge while using a grocery store bathroom. The crime also happened in the bathroom at the Great Escape theme park.

Watervliet Police say 29-year-old Valerie Hewitt and 30-year-old James Hewitt are charged with four counts of unlawful surveillance, a felony, and one count of endangering the welfare of a child.

They were arraigned in Watervliet Tuesday. They were released on bond. But then Warren county got a warrant for their arrests.

Mr Hewitt was arrested and is in on $25,000 cash for bail. She is also in custody and will appear in court Thursday morning.

Police say she put a small recording device inside a purse, went into a stall, then placed the purse on the floor between restroom stalls.

“There is nothing more disgusting and more disturbing than these allegations and the crimes that they’ve committed, especially as a husband and wife that they would in tandem, target and victimize very young children and women,” said Watervliet Police Chief Anthony Geraci.

He says Hewitt brought her purse with a recording device into the bathroom of the Price Chopper from July 2017 through July 2019. Chief Geraci says the ages of the 30 people recorded range from four to 58. Only four victims have been identified.

“The importance right now is to identify those remaining victims who believe maybe they were victimized,” Chief Geraci said.

The couple, believed to be separated, is accused of also taping in a Great Escape theme park bathroom. The victims recorded there are described as a small child and less than the age of 10, and a woman. As a result in Warren County they face multiple felonies including unlawful surveillance, endangering the welfare of a child and promoting sexual performance of a child.

“This is a pretty disturbing case. The outcome here is troubling to a lot of seasoned officers,” said Lt. Steven Stockdale of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.

Watervliet police say the couple could face more charges there as victims are identified. It is not believed that the Hewitts did not have any contact with the victims.

Detectives are asking for your assistance. If you used the bathroom in the Watervliet Price Chopper or Great Escape over the last two years, and saw a suspicious purse inside or near your stall, you are asked to contact police.

Price Chopper/Market 32 released the following statement:

"Price Chopper/Market 32 was horrified to discover that such illicit videography was taking place in one of the restrooms at our Watervliet store. Our Asset Protection team assisted both local and NYS law enforcement in the identification of three of the victims and we fully support their pursuit of justice in this matter."

Six Flags/Great Escape released the following statement:

"The safety and security of our guests is our top priority and we have zero tolerance for any inappropriate behavior. The matter has been turned over to the local authorities and we are cooperating fully with their investigation."

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