EDWARDSVILLE – A registered sex offender was charged Friday with two felonies after police said he tried to take a picture under the dress of a customer at the Godfrey Walmart.
According to a press release from the Madison County Sheriff's Office, Matthew A. Banks, 25, of the 2400 block of Kohler Street, Alton, was charged in Madison County Circuit Court with one count of unauthorized video recording and one count of sex offender being present at a program directed at persons under the age of 18.
A deputy responded to a suspicious activity complaint at approximately 7:25 p.m. Tuesday at the Walmart. The deputy met with a female customer who told the deputy that she caught an unknown white male subject taking, or attempting to take, a picture of her from under her dress. The complainant said she noticed the man following her around inside of the store and became concerned. As she was attempting to check out she turned around to find the man kneeling down behind her, holding a cellular phone out to his side and under her dress. She confronted the man and he exited the store, leaving the scene in a dark green older-model vehicle.
The responding deputy coordinated efforts with a Walmart loss prevention officer, who began diligently searching the facility's video surveillance footage for any information that would lead to an identity of the suspect. On Wednesday evening, the loss prevention officer successfully located footage of the suspect in the store on a different occasion and was able to locate a registration number for the suspect vehicle, which the deputy was able to link to Banks.
At approximately 6:39 p.m. Wednesday, while the first incident was still being investigated, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office responded to a suspicious person call at Lewis and Clark Community College. The responding deputy was advised that a parent of a child attending a swimming class for children ages 3 to 6 saw Banks watching the children attending the swimming course. The parent knew Banks and knew he was a registered sex offender. Banks reportedly left the college driving the same dark green passenger vehicle.
At approximately 8:52 p.m. Wednesday, deputies involved in the investigation located Banks walking on Gerson Avenue, just north of West Elm Street, in Godfrey. Banks was taken into custody and transported to the Madison County Jail, where he was held pending a review of facts by the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office. Banks was positively identified during the investigation as the subject involved in Tuesday's incident at the Godfrey Walmart.
Banks was arrested in connection with a previous Madison County Sheriff’s Office case in April 2015. In that incident the mother of a 4-year-old child witnessed Banks masturbating next to her vehicle, while in the parking lot of the Godfrey Schnucks. Banks was arrested in that incident and charged with sexual exploitation of a child because he committed the act in the presence of a child under the age of 13. As a result of this incident Banks is a registered sex offender.
Judge Richard Tognarelli issued the current warrant against Banks, setting his bond at $100,000. Banks remains in custody in lieu of bond.