Former Vollyball coach accused of shooting “Upskirt” video
GLENDALE – A former Pasadena City College assistant women’s volleyball coach has been arrested on suspicion of taking cell phone video up a woman’s skirt while the victim rode an escalator at the Glendale Galleria, authorities said Wednesday.
John Puncel, 49, of Sylmar is also listed as a board member on the website of the San Gabriel Valley Football Officials Association. He was booked on suspicion of taking “up-skirt” video, possession of child pornography, assault on a police officer and obstructing police, Glendale police Sgt. Thomas Lorenz said.
Glendale police officers assigned to a substation at the mall at 100 West Broadway noticed Puncel holding a cell phone in his hand near the bottom of an escalator, the sergeant said.
“When this woman got onto the escalator, they could see him sticking (the cell phone) under her skirt,” he said.
The officers immediately recognized Puncel’s activity as a crime and approached him, resulting in the officers and Puncel getting into a brief scuffle over his cell phone, Lorenz said.
“He tried to resist, push back from the officers,” Lorenz said. “He didn’t want the officers to get their hands on the phone.”
One officer suffered an abrasion to his arm during the scuffle, resulting in the additional charge of assaulting a peace officer, officials said.
The woman, 49, “was totally unaware of what was going on, Lorenz said. When shown footage on the suspect’s camera, the alleged victim was “shocked and outraged,” he said.
She herself placed Puncel under private person’s arrest, under the supervision of officers, Lorenz said. “She wasn’t going to tolerate it.”
Detectives seized Puncel’s phone and computer and were still in the process of examining them for evidence, Lorenz said.
Investigators Wednesday had found “several” other suspicious images in Puncel’s possession, including nude images of people who appear to be minors, Lorenz said. Other potential victims in the seized footage had not been identified Wednesday.
Puncel was released from jail Tuesday afternoon pending further investigation and the presentation of the case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Lorenz said.
A phone number listed in public records as belonging to Puncel no longer appeared to be valid Wednesday.
It was not clear if Puncel’s work with the San Gabriel Valley Football Officials Association placed him on high school campuses. SGVFOA officials could not be reached for comment.
The SGVFOA helps provide referees for high school football games for more than 30 high schools throughout the region.
PCC spokesman Juan Gutierrez said he was still working to collect information regarding Puncel’s employment history at the school Wednesday afternoon.
A press released issued by the school welcomed him to the campus as an assistant women’s volleyball coach in late 2006.
The occupation listed on his booking sheet was “landscaper,” officials said.
Because of the nature of the alleged crime and the additional footage found in Puncel’s possession, detectives reached out to the public for help with the investigation.
Anyone who believes they’ve had a suspicious encounter with Puncel is asked to call Glendale police at 818-548-3106.