A 50-year-old Phoenixville man who allegedly broke into his neighbors’ homes to satisfy an apparent underwear fetish had his bail raised to $100,000 and was remanded to Chester County Prison by a district judge on Thursday, The Phoenix is reporting.
According to the paper, Judge Theodore P. Michaels raised the bail after determining, based on testimony from the father of one of Mark Nicholas Kawchak’s victims, that the defendant had violated the conditions of his initial release, which barred him from having any contact with his victims. Kawchak violated these terms, according to the victim’s father, on three separate occasions.
Michaels also, according to the paper, held the 34 felony counts of criminal trespassing Kawchak faces to a higher court. The case, according to court documents, has been transferred to the Court of Common Pleas.
According to court documents, the strange case began on Nov. 23 of 2012, when two men and their underage daughters went to the Schuylkill Township Police Department to report suspicious behavior in the neighborhood.
The men stated that their daughters were asked to pet sit by their neighbor, Kawchak, in his home on the 100 block of Hawthorne Lane, according to police. While in the house, the girls found a silver handheld video camera that they had reportedly seen Kawchak conspicuously using around the neighborhood. Police say they played the recordings and were startled by what they saw.
The girls told police they saw footage of themselves playing in front of their homes additional video of neighboring women doing the same, the court documents say. The video, the girls said, focused almost exclusively on the breast and buttocks of the women in question.
The girls also discovered photographs on the camera, several of which were of underwear belonging to the younger sister of one of the girls, and appeared to have been taken inside her bedroom, police report.
The father of the girl whose bedroom had been photographed told police, the report says, that he had given Kawchak a key years earlier, for emergency purposes, but had not given him permission to enter the home in a decade.
The girls provided Schuylkill Police with a list of names of the women they saw on the camera. After conducting interviews with these women, police applied for and received a warrant to search Kawchak’s home.
Chester County Detectives and Schuykill Police searched the home on Jan. 2, and recovered several video storage devices. According to court documents, during the search, Kawchak was interviewed, and admitted to entering his neighbors’ homes and photographing their underwear, according to court documents.
Authorities ultimately recovered 151 photos and 165 videos, court documents report. The images included numerous shots of underwear, and close ups of women's breast and groin areas, as the girls initially reported. One video depicted a nude women standing in front of her bathroom mirror, police say.
Kawchak was charged on March 1 with multiple felony counts of criminal trespassing, and numerous misdemeanors related to privacy violations and harassment. He was initially released from Chester County Prison on $35,000 bail.
Kawchak will now be formally arraigned at the Chester County Justice Center on April 25.