Calgary man arrested in 'CanadaCreep' Twitter case had years' worth of surreptitious photos on his devices

Police have arrested a 42-year-old Calgary man in connection with the now suspended "CanadaCreep" Twitter account, which over the past year posted secretly recorded images of women's bodies.

Jeffrey Williamson, 42, is facing charges of voyeurism and distributing voyeuristic material

Staff Sgt. Cory Dayley, right, speaks to reporters about the arrest of a suspect in the 'CanadaCreep' Twitter case. At left, Alexandra Constantinidis is seen in one of the many videos posted on the Twitter account. She agreed to have this screenshot of the video published as part of this story. (Left: Screenshot, Right: Mark Matulis/CBC)

A 42-year-old Calgary man has been arrested in connection with the now suspended "CanadaCreep" Twitter account, which over the past year posted secretly recorded images of women's bodies.

Police say they've seized hundreds of thousands of images that date back as far as 2012 from the man's devices.

"This is definitely an extreme case … and quite disturbing and concerning," said Staff Sgt. Cory Dayley with the Calgary Police Service (CPS) cyber-forensics unit.

Jeffrey Williamson is charged with voyeurism and distributing voyeuristic material in relation to three separate incidents.

At a hearing held Wednesday evening, a publication ban was placed on naming the three victims.

Dayley said police expect to lay further charges, as well, as they speak with more victims and could later lay "global" charges in relation to other images in which no victims are identified.

Going through all of the evidence could take weeks, if not months.

"The investigation is definitely in its infancy, now that we have the magnitude of evidence and exhibits in our possession," Dayley said.

'Multiple electronic devices seized'

Dayley said "multiple electronic devices were seized" when the man was taken into custody at about 5 p.m. on Tuesday on his way back to his home in the southeast community of Prestwick/McKenzie Towne.

"A search warrant was executed on a residence in the community of Prestwick that resulted in an additional seizure of computers, storage devices and other electronics," he said.

Police said they seized "multiple terabytes of data" from the devices. A terabyte is 1,000 gigabytes.

All told, Dayley said there are hundreds of thousands of images to go through, the bulk of which were not posted to the "CanadaCreep" Twitter account.

As CBC News reported Tuesday, the account had amassed 17,000 followers over the span of a year before being shut down by the social media service that day.

'Objectification of women'

Hundreds of posts on the account included surreptitiously recorded photos and video of Calgary women's clothed breasts, buttocks and genital areas — including videos filmed up women's skirts while they walked.

It's those videos that led to the voyeurism charges, but Dayley said the hundreds of other images on the account were also "extremely disturbing," even if they don't cross the threshold required to lay criminal charges.

"It's still objectification of women ... which is wrong," he said.

"We don't agree with it here at CPS. It's disturbing social behaviour."

Many of the images were captured on the streets of downtown Calgary, others in and around Prince's Island Park. Some were clearly recorded at a C-Train station or in the city's Plus-15 network of elevated walkways.

'I was pretty mad that this was happening to me'

Alexandra Constantinidis, 22, learned on Monday evening she was among the women whose images were posted to the Twitter account.

She told CBC News that numerous friends alerted her to a nearly minute-long video that appeared to be of her walking in downtown Calgary, filmed from behind and focused on her backside.

When she watched it for herself, she recognized it as being recorded on Friday, as she was going to get lunch.

She then looked through the previous "CanadaCreep" posts, which date back to June 2016, and said she was shocked the account had been so active for so long.

"I was pretty mad that this was happening to me and also to a bunch of younger girls," she said.

"It's a little violating having somebody film you when walking down the street."

'Upskirt' victim speaks out

Another Calgary woman, who CBC News has agreed not to identify, said Tuesday that she felt "extremely violated" and unsafe when she learned on Monday night that she was among the "upskirt" victims on the Twitter account.

She said friends alerted her to a series of videos in which the camera operator follows her from behind over a period of several minutes before finally moving in close.

"Eventually he takes the camera and puts it under my skirt from behind. It's crazy," the 25-year-old said.

"You can see my underwear and my butt."

She said the account included so many videos that were apparently recorded over a period of a months, mostly in Calgary's downtown area, it made her worry for her safety and that of her friends and co-workers.

"I feel it's just so degrading. It's just disturbing," she said.

"And then I feel for all the other people that are in the videos."