RALEIGH, N.C.–The man who was arrested last year and charged with secretly videotaping players as they changed and showered inside the Carolina Mudcats’ visitors clubhouse was sentenced to probation after accepting a plea agreement in March, and investigators say they have passed on evidence discovered in the case to other jurisdictions.
LaDarryl Strong, 33, was charged with felony secret peeping after Mudcats employees caught a man dressed as a maintenance worker and videotaping Wilmington Blue Rocks players following a Carolina League game at Five County Stadium on April 10, 2012. Strong, who had no prior arrests, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor secret peeping as part of a plea agreement in March and was sentenced to three years of probation, according to Wake County, N.C., court documents. Strong was also charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and is scheduled to appear in court on those charges on July 19.
Following Strong’s arrest last year, Zebulon (N.C.) police seized roughly 50 electronic devices from his North Carolina home—including computer hard drives, cell phones, iPods and storage discs. Zebulon police Lt. Scott Finch, who oversaw the investigation and examined the evidence with the assistance of North Carolina’s State Bureau of Investigation, said investigators discovered no other recordings from the Mudcats ballpark. They did find video from other locker rooms, he said. Because one video featured a locker room with purple and gold, Finch said he passed the evidence on to the East Carolina University police department.
“Several of (the videos) were athletic teams,” Finch said. “Some of them did not appear to be in the state. But they weren’t in my jurisdiction . . . (East Carolina) is the only school in the area that I know that has those colors. But for all I know, it could have been a high school.”
East Carolina is about an hour away from Zebulon in Pitt County, N.C., where Strong lives, according to court documents in the case. ECU spokeswoman Jeannine Hutson said that university police have heard from an outside agency and an investigation is under way. University police did not return phone calls from Baseball America.
Wake County assistant district attorney Melanie Shekita confirmed that no other videos could be identified as having taken place in Wake County and other evidence had been passed along to the appropriate authorities. “There may have been things that could be chargeable,” she said. “That would be up to them.”
Strong’s attorney, Patrick Roberts, declined comment.
As part of the plea agreement, Strong is not allowed at Five County Stadium and must submit to random searches of electronics, according to court documents. His supervision was transferred to authorities in Pitt County.
According to investigators, a man sneaked into the fenced-in clubhouse area behind the ballpark last year when the team opened the back gates for the Wilmington team bus, Mudcats general manager Joe Kremer said in an interview last April. Dressed as a maintenance worker with blue plastic gloves, the man walked into the locker room while the clubhouse attendant was in the laundry room and was able to videotape players for several minutes without being noticed. When confronted, the man told Mudcats staff that he was looking for a team schedule.
“I do commend my staff for doing their job and quick thinking. It was a very unfortunate incident,” Kremer said at the time.