Police investigate creepy customers at Ind. tanning salon

(WANE Photo)

COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. (WANE) – It sounds like something out of a nightmare: undressing in a tanning booth, and discovering someone is sneaking a video of you.  Owner Megan Palmer said that nightmare recently became reality at her tanning salon.

The Columbia City Police Department has investigated two cases of voyeurism at Sun Kiss Tanning over the past six months.  Now, Palmer is speaking out to try and create awareness toward the creepy and illegal activity.

“They were completely horrified, scared, humiliated,” Palmer said. “You’re nude in the tanning bed a lot of times.”

That’s the reaction Palmer’s customers had when she said they were victimized in her tanning salon. According to the first incident’s probable cause, a woman noticed a man peering at her over the top of the booth while she was undressed.  21-year-old Kolten Krull of Pierceton pleaded guilty to voyeurism in the case, a class B misdemeanor. He received community service and had to pay a $100 fine.

Krull was apparently standing on a stool when he was peering over at the woman.  Palmer said following the incident, she immediately removed all the stools from her tanning booths.

But only a couple months later, another woman noticed a camera phone pointing at her underneath the booth. Once again, the horrified customer reported it and Palmer called police.  Police released limited information on that case because they said an investigation is ongoing.

Palmer had a rubber base installed on each booth the next day, which would prevent anything similar from happening in the future.

Columbia City Police Chief Tim Longenbaugh said the crimes are a sign of the times.

“With technology the way it is, we just urge people to be cautious and to be aware of their surroundings,” Longenbaugh said. “If they see something that they think is suspicious, either let the employees know at the business they are at or call the police department and let us know.”

Palmer continues to fight back against the disturbing activity with her words. The owner is urging women to look out for voyeurs, no matter where they are changing.

“Watch out for your surroundings and scan before you undress in a dressing room, in a fitting room, in a gym,” she said. “Scan the surroundings, scan the upper parts, scan the lower parts, check the vents. I hate that we have to do this but this is the world we live in now with voyeurism. You can upload things very quickly to the internet.”

Palmer said letting people know that voyeurism has been an issue at her salon could be suicide for her business. But she said it’s a risk she’s willing to take.

“I want people to know that this is happening and we can’t be the only place that it is,” she said. “I’m disgusted by it…this is not your playground. You cannot just come in and victimize people, just because you want to.”

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