Man Accused of Spying in Women’s Restroom

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ROCKY RIVER -- Police arrested an alleged Peeping Tom after they say he was caught looking under the stall in the ladies room of a local restaurant.

"This is Rocky River Panera, and we have a creeper in the bathroom and he was watching some of our customers," the assistant manager told a dispatcher in a call 911.

The manager at the Panera Bread on Center Ridge Road in Rocky River called police around 6:00 Tuesday evening, after a woman alerted the staff that a man was looking under the stalls at her inside the women's restroom.

"I noticed it was a man's face, so the first thought that came to my mind is, I wanted to smash his face against that wall with my foot," said the victim, who did not want to be identified.

She says she noticed someone in one of the stalls, but never expected to see a man spying on her.

"I just shouted out and I yelled at him, I says 'what are you doing in here? Get out of here' I'm calling the cops and he goes 'whoa, whoa why are you calling the cops, I just fell asleep," the woman said.

"The female screamed, the suspect ran out of the bathroom, ran out of Panera's and was actually pursued by some employees of Panera Bread, they were actually very instrumental in directing the Rocky River police officers that were responding," said Rocky River police chief Kelly Stillman.

Police arrested David Coughlin, 53, of Cleveland and charged him with voyeurism.  Court records show he has charges dating back to 1988 in various westside suburbs, ranging from disorderly conduct, OVI, public indecency and other voyeurism charges in 1990 and 1999.

"I was shocked, I lived with him for years, I had no idea he could be something like that, it just goes to show, you can never tell who somebody is in this day and age," said Coughlin’s roommate Sean Brown.

"Obviously we're upset, but we reacted quickly, you know...our main concern is always that the guests are safe, that our employees are safe, we were able to get him out of the building immediately when this happened," said Karen Burks, director of Operations for Panera Bread.

Panera Bread customers are glad the suspect was caught.

"If I was in that stall, I would've given him a swift kick in the head with an artificial leg," said customer Kathy Keene.

"You expect to be safe in the bathroom, have privacy, so to find out that someone is trying to look in your stall is disturbing," said customer Amy Pound.

Coughlin is out of jail on bond.  He is due in court next month.

The victim says she eats at Panera Bread weekly and says she is fortunate that her 4-year-old daughter had gone to the car and wasn’t with her in the restroom at the time.