Authorities in Somerset County announced that defendant Miguel A. Melchor-Gomez, 54, of North Plainfield, has been arrested and charged with five counts of second-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child, four counts of third-degree invasion of privacy, and one count of fourth-degree invasion of privacy.
According to officials, the rest of the charges consist of one count of fourth-degree tampering with evidence and one count of fourth-degree obstructing administration of law.
Somerset County Prosecutor John P. McDonald reported following his arrest, the State filed a motion for pretrial detention, which was granted by the Hon. Julie M. Marino, J.S.C., and the defendant is currently detained.
Authorities say Melchor-Gomez's charges stem from multiple instances in which he used his cellular telephone to take, or attempted to take, surreptitious videos underneath the shorts or skirts of unsuspecting female victims.
Melchor-Gomez's crimes, officials stated, occurred hundreds of times over a twenty-one-month period between December 2021 and August 19, 2023, at the Circle Convenience Store, located at the Sunoco gas station, 53 Stirling Road, Watchung.
Officials say where Melchor-Gomez worked as a cashier.
According to officials, the investigation revealed that Melchor-Gomez used his cell phone to film underneath his victims' clothing in one of two ways.
Officials said both of which occurred inside the convenience store: he either pretended that the credit card machine malfunctioned and directed his victims to the counter where he would stand close to his victim to complete the purchase, or he would position himself very close to the victim at some other location within the store.
The vast majority of Melchor-Gomez's victims are adults, but several of his victims are minors, officials stated.
Following Melchor-Gomez's arrest, authorities say, police seized his cellular telephone and conducted a forensic examination of the phone.
According to officials, there is no evidence that Melchor-Gomez shared or disseminated these videos at this time.
This is an ongoing investigation, and police are in the process of identifying the victims depicted in the videos contained on Melchor-Gomez's cell phone, officials said.
Police ask individuals, officials said, who believe that they may be victims to attempt to identify the date on which they were inside the convenience store (through credit card records, etc.) and the clothing that they wore that day (through photos on their cell phones, home surveillance cameras, etc.).
After victims have attempted to identify the date on which they were inside the convenience store, officials say they may contact the Watchung Police at WPD.TIPS@watchungpd.com or (908) 756-2504.