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A former school custodian accused of hiding a recording device in a staff-designated bathroom at Sunset Ridge School in Northfield also reportedly committed multiple lewd acts years prior in Northbrook, according to Northbrook police.
Martin Carlino, Editor; Megan Bernard, Contributing Editor
1:27 pm CST February 1, 2020

A former school custodian accused of hiding a recording device in a staff-designated bathroom at Sunset Ridge School in Northfield also reportedly committed multiple lewd acts years prior in Northbrook, according to Northbrook police.

David Garcia-Espinal, 40, of Highwood, was allegedly found twice inside the women’s bathroom at the AMC Theater located inside Northbrook Court. 

The Northbrook Police Department had two reported cases, one in 2010 and one in 2011, that it believes involved Garcia-Espinal, Northbrook Deputy Chief Dan Strickland told The Tower. 

Northfield Police are currently searching for Garcia-Espinal, as reported by The Tower’s sister paper, The Winnetka Current. 

Northfield Police issued a felony arrest warrant for him and banned him from district property after he allegedly set up a cellphone in the school bathroom in January. 

Strickland said Northbrook officers were previously called to the AMC Theater at Northbrook Court for a report of a suspicious suspect who was taking pictures inside the women’s bathroom in 2010. 

A manager at the theater passed on a report to police from two women who did not identify themselves and left immediately after reporting the activity inside the bathroom, Strickland said.

Before calling police, theater staff went into the bathroom and made contact with the suspect, who Northbrook police believe was Garcia-Espinal. The subject then fled the scene before Northbrook police were called to the location. 

Police received a second report of a man in the women’s bathroom at the theater less than one year later, Strickland said. When officers got to the theater, Garcia-Espinal was still in the bathroom. However, the only complaint police received about the incident at that point was that Garcia-Espinal refused to leave a stall when asked by staff. 

Police brought Garcia-Espinal to the station for further questioning but could not charge him for this incident because no crime had been committed. 

Police searched Garcia-Espinal, his backpack and his car but did not find any camera equipment or photos, Strickland said. 

Northbrook Court security gave Garcia-Espinal a trespassing warning and a six-month ban from the shopping center after the incident, according to police. 

Strickland said police were unable to pursue charges in either of the two cases, adding that’s why no charges were brought against Garcia-Espinal by the Northbrook Police Department. 

Specifically, police were unable to charge Garcia-Espinal in the 2010 incident because the department had no information from witnesses and in no way could confirm that Garcia-Espinal was the person taking photos in the bathrooms.

Strickland did say “there’s good circumstantial evidence” that leads the department to believe Garcia-Espinal was involved in the 2010 incident.  

In August 2012, Garcia-Espinal — identified then as David Garcia — was arrested for disorderly conduct (public indecency) and felony possession of fraudulent identification after he was discovered fondling himself in a female bathroom in June at Regal Cinemas (now ArcLight) in Glenview, according to Village of Glenview documents obtained by 22nd Century Media. 

According to the Glenview police documents, Garcia-Espinal was also previously employed at Sunset Foods in Northbrook.

A tan-colored Sunset Foods shirt was discovered in his vehicle by police, who therefore visited the grocery store at 1127 Church St. after the Glenview incident in 2012. 

Upon investigating, Glenview police learned Garcia-Espinal was going by the name of Nelson Pagan-Archeval, per police documents. 

Officers confirmed Garcia-Espinal was the same man employed at Sunset Foods by matching his physical features in a surveillance video from Regal Cinemas. He later admitted to using the fake name for work.