Cricket customer: Intimate photos stolen in store by employee

Posted at 11:09 PM, Oct 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-06 02:30:41-04

A San Diego woman says she had no idea some of her most private moments were being stolen right in front of her eyes during a visit to a Cricket store.

Nicole's iPhone didn't have a signal so she took it to a Cricket Wireless store on Genesee Avenue.

“It was busy. There were two people behind the counter helping people. One was a man. There's a computer facing him,” said Nicole.

She says the young man at the counter took her phone and swiped away for about five minutes before rebooting the phone and then another employee worked on it for another five minutes.

She says she overheard the other clerk telling customers that nothing could be done until the tower was back up.

“So I started thinking what is he doing with my phone?” said Nicole.

Nicole says near the end of the interaction, his hands started shaking and she became suspicious. He gave the phone back to her and told her he couldn’t do anything.

Outside, she searched her phone. She says she checked her Wells Fargo account and didn’t see anything unusual. She then checked her email and that's when she saw it.

“I was shocked and overwhelmed,” said Nicole.

She says in her Gmail outbox was an email sent from an unknown email to the same email. 

“As soon as I opened it, there was attachment after attachment of very private photos of myself,” said Nicole.

Nicole says she found nearly two dozen nude and partially nude photos she had sent to her long-term boyfriend of four years.

“My boyfriend at the time was traveling for work and we sent things back and forth,” said Nicole.

She says the photos came from a photo album titled "Recently Deleted," which Nicole didn't even know existed.            

“He tried to cover his tracks. In my iCloud, the sent email was wiped, but he didn’t realize it was also in the Gmail sent file,” said Nicole.

She called police the same day and a report was taken. Also that same day, her brother went to the store and confronted the man.

She says her brother demanded he see the phone and the man handed it over. On it, Nicole says the mailbox was full of emails he sent to himself with attachments of intimate photos of other women.

“He saw a few emails and that was enough,” said Nicole.

Nicole says she’s frustrated by Cricket’s response.

“I complained to the other clerk that day and she told the man in Spanish that I was calling police. I asked her to contact management but I don’t think she did. When I finally did the next day, they said they had no knowledge of my complaint. I haven’t heard from Cricket since,” said Nicole.

Nicole just filed a lawsuit against Cricket Wireless.

“We think it's outrageous. Phones contain so much private information. Cricket has an obligation to protect its customers’ private information, and it did not do so in this case,” said Nicole’s attorney Amanda LoCurto.

“Their duty here is to do two things. First, try and minimize the violation to their customer, C.O., and second, make sure that he doesn't do it to any of their other customers. They did neither. Frankly, it is difficult to imagine how they could have handled this situation in a worse manner,” said Gerald Singleton, another attorney handling Nicole’s case.

“I don't know where these photos are or where he sent them too. It’s scary. You don’t expect to walk into a store to get your phone serviced and walk out feeling violated. I don't want this to happen to anyone else,” said Nicole.

LoCurto says when the man was served with the lawsuit three weeks ago, he was still working at Cricket.

“So angry about it. He could be doing this to other women,” said Nicole.

10News reached out to Cricket and a spokesperson sent us this response:

“We cannot comment upon the truth of the allegations. However, they do not reflect how we expect our authorized retailers to operate.  We have been informed by the authorized retailer that its employee has been suspended pending the investigation.”

A San Diego Police spokesperson says the investigation is ongoing.

Because the man has not been arrested, 10News is not naming him.

If you think you may have been a victim, investigators encourage you to call San Diego Police and file a report.