A high school teacher is accused of taking upskirt videos of his female students.
Eric Howell, 43, of Maple Shade, New Jersey is charged with endangering the welfare of a child, official misconduct and invasion of privacy.
Howell, who was a chemistry teacher at Lenape High School in Medford, New Jersey, allegedly captured upskirt videos and photos of female students in his classroom and the school’s hallways.
Investigators say Howell hid a camera in a coconut water box that was placed on the side of his briefcase. He would unscrew the cap of the box in his briefcase, walk closely to the female students and carry his bag in a way that allowed his camera to see up the girls’ skirts or shorts, according to police.
Investigators say a witness first saw Howell walking behind a female student and extending his arm sideways in order to position the camera under her skirt back on May 2.
"My friend came to church one day and he was telling us about his teacher that was doing this," Tajah Moore-Verdell, a friend of the witness, told NBC10. "He was asking us whether or not he should report him and we all said he should definitely report him."
The witness then reported the incident to school administrators who contacted police. Howell was also immediately banned from school property and school events, according to police.
"My friend is not letting anything like that go on for as long as it could have," Moore-Verdell said. "I was really proud of him. I felt like justice was served."
Investigators say they’ve determined Howell took upskirt videos of three students, one of whom he targeted more than once. He’s also accused of making an upskirt video at a convenience store.
Police searched through Howell’s home and seized several digital storage devices. Howell lives at the same complex where Moore-Verdell lives.
"I wouldn't have expected this," she said. "It hits really close to home."
Howell had been a teacher at the school since 2016. He was taken into custody Wednesday and lodged in the Burlington County Jail pending an appearance in Superior Court Thursday.