ST. PETERSBURG – Jennifer Turner says she was trying on clothes at Target last week when she looked in the mirror of the fitting room and saw the reflection of a man on a ladder peering down at her.
Turner, 26, was shocked.
“No one has ever seen me nude except for my doctor and my husband, ” Turner said. “There was nowhere to hide.”
Now Turner and her husband have hired a lawyer who has written a letter to Target demanding an explanation and threatening legal action.
She didn’t get the name of the tall, thin, blondhaired man on the ladder, but she assumes he was a maintenance worker.
A Target spokesman said the company was investigating the incident.
Joshua Thomas, a spokesman for Target in Minneapolis, said contract workers are expanding the store at 4450 Park St. N in the Tyrone area. In an e-mail, he wrote that contractors may have violated Target’s guidelines on where contractors can work during store hours.
“We want everyone to feel safe and secure when shopping at our stores, ” Thomas said.
Richard Wolfe, the Turners’ attorney, said the store should not have allowed anyone on a ladder above the dressing room area.
“I have no idea why anyone would let someone up there, ” he said. “You basically have a bird’s eye view of everyone going in the dressing room.”
Turner said she had recently had breast implants and was trying on bras at 10 a.m. last Wednesday when she spotted the man.
She and her husband Justin, who have two young children and live near Bay Pines, grew even angrier at the company’s handling of their complaint, saying they were blown off by the fitting room attendant and the manager.
The Turners reported the incident to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office but were told no crime had occurred as there was no evidence he intended to watch her.
Bruce Bartlett, Pinellas-Pasco chief assistant state attorney, said the man could still be prosecuted for voyeurism.
“It sure as heck sounds like voyeurism to me, ” Bartlett said. “It would appear to me that this guy’s conduct was improper and very well may warrant filing criminal charges.”
Typically a first-degree misdemeanor charge of voyeurism involves someone who trespasses or takes pictures, which would indicate intent, he said.
But an accidental voyeur could still be charged depending on the circumstances, such as how long he was watching or if he left when he first saw her, Bartlett said.
Jennifer Turner, a stay-at-home mom and personal trainer, says she won’t go back to Target and feels nervous undressing in public restrooms or fitting rooms.
Her husband, a manager at Tires Plus in Seminole, says he’s angry because “there’s a guy out there who knows what my wife looks like naked.”
The couple said a settlement would be nice, but they mostly hope that their complaint will bring change to Target, both in the way it protects its customers and handles problems – and that women will beware.
“I hate feeling insignificant, like we don’t matter, ” Justin Turner, 33, said. “Middle-class people make Target what they are.”