Former volleyball coach accused of recording up skirts

A 49-year-old man was arrested Monday after police allegedly saw him using his cell phone to record up the skirt of a woman on a Glendale Galleria escalator.

Police immediately tried to detain the man, John Puncel, who allegedly pulled away in an attempt to keep his phone, according to police reports. Officers also saw Puncel allegedly press buttons on the phone as they tried to grab him.

One of the officers suffered a cut and complained of pain as a result of his struggle with Puncel, police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.

The cell phone camera, which was still recording when police arrested Puncel, showed his fingers, then the woman’s legs and buttocks, according to police reports.

Officers later talked to the woman, who told officers she was in shock and didn’t know Puncel.

Puncel was arrested on suspicion of possessing nude photographs of a girl under 18 simulating sexual conduct, secretly recording under the clothing of another person without consent, battery on a police officer and resisting arrest.

Officers were drawn to Puncel when they spotted him standing against a wall on the mall’s first level near a jewelry store holding a cell phone in one hand and watching people on the escalators, Lorenz said.

“They actually watched him as he videotaped women going up the escalator,” Lorenz said.

Several men have been arrested in that area of the mall in connection with using their cell phones to record up the skirts of women using the second-level escalator.

Officers on Monday reported witnessing Puncel get on an escalator and stand a few steps from the woman, who was wearing a knee-high skirt.

He allegedly stepped toward the woman and held the phone under her skirt for a few seconds, according to police reports.

Police detectives obtained search warrants and seized his computers and phones, Lorenz said.

In 2005, Puncel worked for a year as an assistant women’s volleyball coach at Pasadena City College, said Robert Lewis, the school’s sports information spokesman.

He is also listed as a board member for the San Gabriel Valley Football Officials Assn. The group’s president, Henry Torres, declined to comment Tuesday.

A phone number listed under Puncel’s name was disconnected Tuesday.

Anyone with information about Puncel can call the Glendale Police Department at (818) 548-3106.

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