Police arrest man who allegedly recorded people in bathrooms

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published January 11, 2021

 Ron Weiss

Ron Weiss

 Ricky Antoine Morgan Jr.

Ricky Antoine Morgan Jr.

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — The Shelby Township Police Department was able to arrest a suspect in July who allegedly had been videotaping shoppers inside women’s restrooms in multiple local jurisdictions.

As a result, two police officers — one from Shelby Township — are being recognized for their work to capture the suspect.

On June 15, 2020, Shelby Township Detective Ron Weiss was assigned to investigate a case involving the surveilling of an unclothed person that had occurred in the women’s restroom at the Shelby Township Costco store.

According to police, during one of the incidents in the case, a victim was using the restroom toilet when she observed a cellphone appear from under the stall next to her. When she realized someone was recording her, she screamed and confronted the masked suspect. When confronted, the suspect fled the bathroom and then fled the store in a white Chevrolet Impala with no license plate; however, it did have unique driver’s side damage.

Weiss discovered that Costco had received similar complaints from other victims in recent weeks.

About a week later, the suspect was seen by an off-duty police officer who happened to be in Warren at the time. The suspect was seen wearing the same clothes he had on during the time of the crime at the Shelby Township Costco store, police said, and his vehicle had the same unique damage as seen in the Shelby Township Costco surveillance video.

Weiss was notified by the officer and obtained a warrant to arrest the suspect, whom police identified as Ricky Antoine Morgan Jr. Weiss also obtained a search warrant for Morgan’s cellphone, home and car.

Weiss, with the assistance of the detective bureau, completed a search at Morgan’s Warren home, and Morgan was then taken into custody. Two cellphones and a laptop were recovered; one cellphone and the laptop were found to have been stolen out of other jurisdictions, police said. They said that the cellphone Morgan used to record the victims in the bathroom was located.

After reviewing the evidence, police said, Weiss discovered that approximately 20 female victims, including some minors, were secretly recorded while unclothed.

Many of the videos were believed to have been recorded in other unknown jurisdictions in addition to the videos that were allegedly recorded by the suspect while at the Madison Heights Costco, the Warren Meijer store and inside Morgan’s Warren home.

According to police, Morgan had two prior convictions on his record, for shoplifting and resisting and obstructing the Shelby Township police.

Morgan’s case is currently moving slowly through the judicial system due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is still awaiting a preliminary exam on the case that is expected to happen sometime in February. The felony count carries a possible two-year jail term. The court did not have record of an attorney for him.

The Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office praised Weiss for his dedication and investigative skills in solving the case. Weiss is being considered for a meritorious citation for his dedication to police and for his investigative skills by his police chief, Robert Shelide.

Hazel Park police officer Jaquelinn Fernandez is also being considered for a department letter of citation for helping spot Morgan in Warren. Officer Fernandez’s awareness, while on and off duty, led to Weiss identifying and arresting the suspect.

Weiss said that solving the case was made possible by the collaboration of both his department and the stores that aided in the investigation.

“This case was successful only because of the efforts of those involved. Most important was Officer Jaquelinn Fernandez who spotted Morgan and reported him to me. (A) Costco Loss Prevention Officer witnessed the suspect and vehicle and provided a great description for the bulletin that produced the suspect’s location. My fellow Detectives and Officers assisted in the surveillance, apprehension and follow-up investigation. Detective (Charles) Johnson provided me with information from the suspect’s phones, which led to additional charges in the cities of Warren and Madison Heights,” he said in an email.

He said he was thankful for the leadership at the Shelby Township Police Department, especially Detective Lt. Pat Barnard, Detective Sgt. Terrance Hogan and Chief Robert Shelide.

Shelide said that, thanks to the hard work of Weiss, the department was able to solve the case.

“With the myriad of cases that I have reviewed over the years, I found this case to be both disturbing and alarming at the same time due to technology. Smart phones, listening devices, as well as GPS trackers have allowed criminals to apply their deviant behavior almost unnoticed to the unsuspecting victim. This individual is not only disgusting, but his conduct is reprehensible, and I hope the judicial system deals with him appropriately,” Shelide said in an email.

He also said that, through the case, Weiss showed just how valuable to the department he has become over the years.

“Detective Weiss is a consummate professional who is respected by everyone who works in this building. In 2018, he was recognized as Detective of the Year. Our commanders in our detective bureau go to Ron regularly when they have a difficult case. The tenacious way in which Detective Weiss applied his intuitive conviction was nothing less than remarkable. We are so proud of him. He represents the very best of our noble and honorable profession.”

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