Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.
It was meant to be just an ordinary day for Texas mother, Phyllis Pena, when she left for her usual early morning trip to the shops earlier this year in January.
But little did the mum realise she would return home to the shock of discovering a man peeping into her 15-year-old daughter’s bedroom window.
The incident unfolded around 7am on 31 January 2021 when Ms Pena caught sight of the alleged Peeping Tom in the yard of her Lake Jackson home.
According to the mother, as soon as the man realised he was spotted, he quickly bolted away from the scene, all while she frantically called the cops.
However, just as the suspect began to run off, he suddenly decided to turn around and made a run straight at the mother.
Indeed, hell hath no fury like a scorned – and very protective – mother, and Ms Pena’s maternal instincts ferociously kicked in.
In order to stop the man, Ms Pena went on to perform a tackle so forceful that it would give even the best rugby players a run for their money.
Footage of the tackle was captured on video by Lake Jackson Police dashcam as they arrived.
As Ms Pena seized the man, her daughter, a seeming chip off the block, jumped in to assist her mother, the pair holding the man down until cops could catch up.
The man was identified by cops as 19-year-old Zane Hawkins.
Mr Hawkins was arrested and charged over the incident.
He also faces charges of possession of a controlled substance, evading arrest and resisting arrest.
It is understood Ms Pena’s daughter and other children knew of Mr Hawkins, but did not know him personally.
Cop Fist-Bumps Ms Pena for Impressive Tackle Which Helped them to Make Arrest
So impressed were police officers by the Texas mother’s defensive takedown that in the aftermath of the incident, they joked to her that the Houston Texans football team could use her as a line-backer.
They also went on to give her a fist-bump as a vote of thanks for abetting the arrest.
“My kids are my life and [I was] just making sure I protect them,” the mother told local news outlet KPRC of the tackle.
“First instinct was just to make sure he didn’t go any further,” she explained of her split-second decision to block and tackle the alleged peeper.
“The cop fist-bumped me and he was like, ‘Hey, so I heard the Texans are looking for a new line-backer’,” Ms Pena told the station.
Meanwhile, addressing the incident, Sergeant Roy Welch of the Lake Jackson Police commended the brave mother’s confrontation of Mr Hawkins.
“It’s not very often that we have somebody that actually steps in, puts themself in harm’s way to assist in apprehending somebody,” Sergeant Welch said.
What is a Peeping Tom?
By definition, a Peeping Tom is a person who obtains sexual gratification by observing others surreptitiously, in particular one who looks through windows at night.
The more scientific term for a Peeping Tom is voyeurism, which, similarly, refers to spying on unsuspecting individuals for sexual gratification.
Peeping Toms, or those with an inclination towards voyeurism, usually experience sexual arousal when spying, which tends to be on unsuspecting people who may be removing their clothes, naked, or even engaging in sexual activity.
According to research on voyeurism and voyeuristic disorder, it is not uncommon for voyeurs to peep through windows or holes with the help of mirrors, cameras, or even binoculars.
Additionally, most voyeurs have an understanding that they should not be peeking at a person, but still feel an urge to do so, especially if they know they won’t get caught.
Privacy is a right that is highly valued by most people in society, and as a consequence, attempts to impede this has the potential to attract criminal charges.
In NSW, section 547 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) deals with the law on peeping and prying.
It makes clear that it is a criminal offence to be in a building, or near a building, with the intention of looking, peeping or prying upon another person.
The maximum penalty for peeping or prying in NSW is three months in jail or a fine of $220.
Peeping or prying comprises various conduct, including peering through a neighbour’s window as they change clothes, watching through the walls of adjoining homes to peer at neighbours, and even hanging around buildings while peering inside to see what people are doing.
Peep or pry offences are finalised in the Local Court in front of a magistrate.
The offence is serious and thus can result in a criminal conviction.
Questions on this topic? Speak to one of our criminal lawyers Parramatta branch today.