On New Year's Eve, at 5pm a 17-year-old who was at Darque Tan tanning salon in the 3100 block of State Highway 6 North told police that she heard a noise while she was tanning. She said she got out of the tanning bed and spotted a man looking over the wall from the adjacent dressing room holding a cell phone.
"I look up there, and it's another human being looking up there back at me," the girl said.
As a victim of a sex crime, we are not revealing her identity, but she wanted to speak out in hopes of preventing others from being taken advantage of.
The walls inside the tanning salon are about a foot shorter than the ceiling in order to allow for ventilation.
"Theres a space that's large enough for a person to actually look over, if they're actually standing on top of one of the tanning booths, and that's what we believe this man did," said Sugar Land police spokesperson Doug Adolph.
The teen reported that the man ducked behind the wall, then reappeared at the same location and took a photo of her. She yelled at the man, finished dressing and ran out to confront him, but she says the man was already gone.
"To know that there might be pictures of me on the Internet, that scares me," the victim said.
Investigators say they identified the man as Michael Allen Hurd, 28, of Missouri City, with the help of the victim and employees at Darque Tan. It turns out he was a customer who had walked in moments before the crime.
Robbie Segler of Darque Tan said, "Good businesses like Darque Tan immediately contact the police and take steps to make sure deviants like that never come back into the salon."
Hurd was arrested at his home on February 5. He was charged with improper photography or visual recording and later transferred to the Fort Bend County jail. His bond was set at $10,000.
Police say they have found no evidence so far that Hurd might have taken pictures like this before, but they can't rule it out either.
Adolph said, "It's reasonable to suspect that he might have done something like this in the past. If that's the case, if anybody else has had similar situations that have occurred at a tanning booth, we'd certainly want them to call us."
Darque Tan asked us to point out that the victim still tans with them, although she says she now always brings a family member with her. Hurd did not respond to our repeated requests for comment on his arrest.
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