A WPEC-Channel 12 reporter and his photographer were mistaken for peeping Toms in a darkened western Palm Beach County neighborhood — and chased by a gun-wielding homeowner!
Veteran CBS 12 general assignment reporter Al Pefley and cameraman Dana Szpunar complained about the incident to Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies who responded to the scene.
Their report was referred to State Attorney Dave Aronberg‘s office for review although charges are unlikely.
According to the complaint obtained exclusively by Gossip Extra, Pefley, 53, and Szpunar, 31, were trying to interview residents in the Acreage area on edge about a serial peeping Tom when the incident occurred about 9 p.m. Jan. 17.
Pefley, who wore dark clothes, had been knocking on doors to find residents willing to be interviewed when he arrived at Jeffrey Eassa‘s property. Eassa, 47, is a former principal at Acreage Pines Elementary.
Pefley admitted that the gate to Eassa’s driveway was padlocked, but the door to the walkway wasn’t. So Pefley and Szpunar, camera on his shoulder, walked up the house.
They startled Eassa, who was packing his car in the driveway.
“Get the f… off my property, that’s how people get shot,” Eassa told the men as he ran inside the house.
He came out with a handgun and, according to Pefley’s statement to PBSO, followed the men to the property line at gunpoint as a woman in the doorway of the house yelled: “Jeffrey, get back here!”
Eassa told cops he didn’t know Pefley and Szpunar were with Channel 12 and, in the dark, he didn’t know that Szpunar was holding a camera. He did tell the deputies folks in the neighborhood are nervous because of a man who’s been peeking at children and women through lit windows.
PBSO is still on the hunt for the perp.
Eassa’s gun, meanwhile, was identified by deputies at a Taurus 9 mm that Eassa owned legally.
According to the report, deputies “educated” the newsmen about Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law before they were sent on their way.
Neither Pefley nor the homeowner returned calls for comment.