A Mastic Beach photographer has been arrested for hiding a camera in a changing room for swimsuit models, according to Southampton village police. Greg Cergol reports.
A Mastic Beach photographer has been arrested for hiding a camera in a changing room for swimsuit models, according to Southampton village police.
The man in custody, Robert Ligouri, 51 had been hired to photograph the models at a Southampton club during a charity fashion show last July.
What swimsuit designer Lu Berry didn't know is that Ligouri is also a level 2 sex offender.
"This got me really angry, really upset," said Berry, who found the camera hidden on a shelf in the changing area. She turned the camera over to investigators.
The video captured seven models undressing after the show, police said. None was aware of what was happening.
"It's a clear violation of someone's expectation of privacy, for sure," said Det. Sgt. Herman Lamison of the Southampton village police department.
Police arrested Ligouri Tuesday after a two month investigation. Officers executed a search warrant at his Mastic Beach home, seizing a computer, photos and other digital items.
The models weren't the only thing Ligouri captured on video, police said. He was apparently rolling as he set up the camera, recording his own image in the process.
"You can see his own face as he maneuvered the camera to get a good angle of the fitting room," Berry said.
Ligouri has pleaded not guilty but remains behind bars on more than $30,000 bail, according to a spokesman for the Suffolk County District Attorney.
Ligouri was also arrested in Center Moriches earlier this month on charges he flashed a clothing store clerk while wearing a skirt.
Ligouri's first brush with the law came in 1998 when he was busted by federal authorities for trafficking in child pornography, said the DA spokesman.
Berry and all the models now have orders of protection against the photographer.
"We expect a little drama in the fashion business," Berry said. "But nothing like this."
Southampton village police suspect Ligouri may have done this before and are asking for the public's help in their investigation.
"This taught us a lesson to be more careful about who comes around us," added Berry.