Thursday, March 7, 2019

Club Fitness Peeper Posted Dozens of Nude Pics of St. Louis Women, Police Say

Posted By on Thu, Mar 7, 2019 at 2:54 PM

click to enlarge Michael Koch secretly photographed dozen of nude women, police say. - ST. PETERS POLICE
  • ST. PETERS POLICE
  • Michael Koch secretly photographed dozen of nude women, police say.

A St. Charles County man is a prolific peeping tom, secretly photographing dozens of women while they were naked and then posting the pictures to a Russian-hosted website, police say.

Michael Koch, 26, of O'Fallon targeted numerous yet-to-be identified women at the Club Fitness in St. Peters where he worked for seven years, according to court records. But his victims also included an adult relative and a girlfriend, authorities say.

One of the women from the gym allegedly caught Koch in September 2018 as he raised his cell phone over the top of her tanning booth wall to take her photo. Investigators believe Koch, who is five feet six inches tall, pushed a chair against the wall of an adjoining booth and climbed atop it to photograph the woman while she was naked.



Police later found the chair moved from its normal spot, and both surveillance video and employees confirmed Koch had been the only one in the adjoining booth.

The September 2018 incident apparently took place after Koch stopped working at the gym. Police say he was a Club Fitness employee from 2010 to 2017.

The investigation into Koch was conducted in part by a special agent with the Department of Homeland Security. The 26-year-old was posting his illicit images on a Russian photo-sharing site, authorities say.

His account included 175 photos in fourteen folders, several of which were labeled "Spy Vids screenshots." Among the photos were 41 that investigators believe were taken of women in Club Fitness' private tanning booths. Detectives are still trying to identify the victims. That has been difficult, because most of the photos don't include the women's faces or are poor of quality, police say.

Koch is also suspected of photographing women in other locations. Investigators found photos of a girlfriend, whom he secretly filmed while they had sex, court records say. She told police she had no idea and felt anxious, violated and "angry all the time" after learning the images had been posted online.

A relative of Koch's similarly told police she did not know he had rigged up a hidden camera in a bathroom to photograph her while she was naked. Those photos were also posted on the Russian site, police say.

St. Peters Detective Erin O'Neal wrote in a probable cause statement that Koch initially admitted he posted the photos, but then said he didn't remember.

Investigators were able to trace the account on the photo-sharing site to Koch's email address, and the IP address was tied to his home in O'Fallon.

So far, he is facing charges of invasion of privacy and attempted invasion of privacy related to just three victims — the girlfriend, relative and one gym customer — but detectives are hoping to identify more women from Koch's cache of photographs.

St. Peters Police ask anyone who tanned in 2016 or 2017 at Club Fitness and thinks they could have been photographed to call the department's Criminal Investigations Division at 636-278-2244, extension 3540.

We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at doyle.murphy@riverfronttimes.com or follow on Twitter at @DoyleMurphy.
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