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Several bad decisions inside West End Wawa lead to man’s arrest

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. – Police arrested a West End man for a variety of crimes after he ran out of the Wawa gas station on the 8000 block of W. Broad Street near Parham Road.

Bennett Ernest Church (PHOTO: Henrico Police)

Bennett Ernest Church (PHOTO: Henrico Police)

Officers were inside the Wawa about 11:40 a.m. Thursday when they were told the man was taking photos underneath the skirt of a woman at the convenience store.

“When officers confronted the subject, he ran and a brief foot pursuit began that ended in the Wawa parking lot,” Henrico Police spokeswoman Lt. Linda Toney said. “Marijuana was located [as was] merchandise from Wawa that he failed to pay for.”

Bennett Ernest Church , 32, of Skipwith Road was charged with being drunk in public, shoplifting, marijuana possession and for taking unlawful photographs.

That list of charges against him that includes using a cell phone to invade a woman’s privacy.

“I think he is such a pervert,” said Shirley Burgess.

Police say Bennett was caught in the act Thursday afternoon.

“Henrico detectives who were in plainclothes; actually, went to the WaWa to grab some lunch.  And while they’re inside there, an employee alerted them [yelling] to somebody who they thought was actually taking photographs of somebody from up underneath of her skirt,” said Lt. Linda Toney, Henrico police.

Lt. Linda Toney tells CBS 6, when detectives confronted Church, he ran out the back door.

She says detectives chased him down in the parking lot.  He was arrested at the scene.

“There was one victim that he had taken a photo of.  And they’re also analyzing evidence from his phone to see if there is perhaps some other victims,” said Lt. Linda Toney.

Customers like Burgess are surprised to learn this happened in a public place.  And she plans to be more aware of her surroundings.

“You could be in a grocery store…or you could be in a drug store.  you could be shopping.  I mean even if you have the kids along with you.  I don’t it should matter where you are.  People should respect your privacy,” said Burgess.

Lt. Toney says when they arrested Church he had marijuana in his possession and merchandise that he did not pay for.   But police declined to say what it is.  As part of his bond, is banned from WAWA.  He faces shoplifting, marijuana possession, drunk in public, and unlawful photographs.

Church goes to trial on September 17th at 9:30 a.m. in Henrico General District court.

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