A Livingston man who reportedly was taking pictures of a girl in a Bozeman store faces tampering charges after he allegedly deleted the photos from his phone as police investigated the incident.
Mark D. Booth, 52, was seen in Gallatin County Justice Court on Wednesday. Booth’s bail was set at $2,500; he could face up to 10 years in prison for the tampering with physical evidence charge.
According to charging documents, Bozeman Police responded to a report of a suspicious person at Walmart, taking pictures of a little girl while in line at McDonald’s.
When police arrived, an employee pointed to a pickup truck leaving the parking lot driven by Booth.
When stopped, court documents say, Booth denied taking pictures — but when he consented for the officer to look at the pictures on his phone, the officer verified that Booth had been taking pictures of young girls in Walmart.
The officer took photos of Booth’s photos and handed him back his phone.
Booth stated to the officer that he wasn’t intentionally taking photos of the children, and stated: “I’m not a predator” or a “creepo.” He reportedly told the officer that he always had his phone out and was hitting the button that takes pictures.
While the officer was consulting with a detective, he realized there had been videos on Booth’s phone. When the officer returned to Booth’s vehicle to look at his phone, most of the photos and videos from Walmart had been allegedly deleted by Booth.
"Some of the evidence had been tampered with and that's why there was an arrest that was made with tampering with evidence and now the investigation is continuing to kind of do some further determination of specifics on what was being photographed, people who were there," says Det. Joe Swanson, Bozeman City Police.
Surveillance video from Walmart reportedly confirmed that Booth had intentionally taken photos of a young girl in the self-checkout area.