2016-09-08 / Courts

More ‘upskirt’ photos linked to Bingham man

SAWYER SAWYER Leelanau County investigators have allegedly found ‘upskirt’ videos and pictures of 15 to 20 women on the cell phone of a 30-year-old Suttons Bay grocery store employee after he was arrested about two weeks ago.

Brandan J. Sawyer, of 4805 Boone Aire Dr. in Bingham Township, was arraigned on Aug. 30 in 86th District Court on felony charges of using a computer to commit a crime and capturing/ distributing an image of an unclothed person, court records show. He did not enter a plea on the charges.

He is currently free on a 10 percent, $10,000 bond. That bond had originally been set at $5,000, but was increased by Judge Larry Nelson when Sawyer was arraigned.

Ronald “Gus” O’Brien, president of Hansen Foods, issued a press release yesterday morning stating that Sawyer has been fired.

“The ownership, management and staff of Hansen Foods of Suttons Bay deeply regrets the recent incident at our store involving a Hansen’s employee,” O’Brien wrote.

“Upon being informed of the matter, the employee was immediately terminated from his employment. The entire Hansen’s team is committed to maintaining a safe and secure environment to our customers for their shopping experience in our store. We look forward to continuing our service to the community as we have for the last 23 years.”

Sawyer was arrested after a woman came forward and told deputies that he had taken a photo under her skirt while she was shopping at Hansen Foods, according to court records.

When questioned, Sawyer allegedly admitted to using his cell phone to take a picture of the woman.

According to Leelanau County Sheriff Mike Borkovich, investigators have since found videos and pictures of 15 to 20 women, as well as images of a woman in a bathroom in a Leelanau County home, he said.

Borkovich said investigators have been unable to identify the women, but is urging anyone who thinks that Sawyer may have “bumped into them” while they were shopping at the store, or was stocking lower shelves, wiping up the floor or just too close to them while they were in the store to come forward and contact the Sheriff’s Office at 256-8800.

“He’s obviously got a sickness,” Borkovich said. “There’s no justification or excuse for what he did. Hopefully he gets the help he needs and the courts deal with him accordingly.”

Using a computer to commit a crime is a seven-year felony; capturing/distributing an image of an unclothed person is a five-year felony.

A probable cause conference has been set for Sept. 13, and a preliminary examination on the charges has been set for Sept. 20.

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