A Pottstown man was arrested after police discovered him posting nude photographs of celebrities on trees along the Thun Trail.According to Robeson Township officer Brad A. Brenner, Daniel Pennypacker, 48, of Pottstown, purchased actual photographs of celebrities with their breasts and nipples exposed over the Internet and then posted them on trees along the trail.
"He would attach a black Sharpie marker to the pictures," Brenner said. "He wanted to see what people would write on the pictures."
"He said he purchased them online," Brenner added.
Brenner said police had received several reports of photographs of naked women posted along the trail for more than a month prior to Pennypacker's arrest.
"A month and a half ago, we got phone calls from people walking the trail that there were naked photos of celebrities along the trail," Brenner said. The area where the photographs were observed was from Old River Road to Route 724 in Cumru.
The photographs showed the exposed breasts and nipples of the celebrities, according to reports police received.
It took about a half dozen reports to police and several weeks to find the person responsible, or even find any evidence that the incidents were really happening because they could never locate the photographs.
"Every time that we got calls on it, we went out and checked the trail, but we could never see the pictures," Brenner said. He explained that it appeared as though Pennypacker would hang the photos for just a short period of time and then take them down the same day.
"On Friday, Dec. 26, at around 11-11:30 a.m., officer Fred Heck received an assignment for more pictures being posted on the trail," Brenner said. He and Heck went out and walked the trail for approximately a mile, but they couldn't locate any photos.
Heck made a note of the license plates for all the vehicles parked in the lots along the trail.
After speaking with other police departments about the incident, police learned that Pennypacker had been arrested or had been in contact with police after doing the same thing previously. Robeson Township police were advised of this and ran his name, comparing it with PennDOT records.
"And a license plate for a Dodge pickup truck (that was parked along the trail Dec. 26) came back" registered to Pennypacker, Brenner said.
When Brenner was scheduled to work the day shift on Dec. 27, he went out to the trail where he observed the truck registered to Pennypacker in the parking lot. It was then that Brenner observed Pennypacker tacking up the photographs of naked celebrities on trees along the trail.
In total, Brenner found six photographs on trees Dec. 27, so Pennypacker was charged with six counts each of open lewdness, disorderly conduct and harassment. Police said they found a pair of binoculars inside Pennypacker's truck; although, they couldn't determine whether he was using them to watch trailgoers observe the photos.
Brenner said Pennypacker was arraigned before District Judge David E. Glass Dec. 27 and released on $50,000 cash bail.
Brenner said anyone who may have observed photographs of naked celebrities on the trail previously should call police. "I'm going to ask them to testify and subpoena them," Brenner said.
Brenner also said this was the first time he's ever heard of someone doing something like this.
"This is the first time we've ever encountered anything like this," he said. "We actually had to call the D.A.'s office" to see how it could be prosecuted because the type of incident was unheard of."
It was disturbing, police said. "This is a public trail, there are a lot of kids who ride their bikes there," Brenner said. "I wouldn't want my children to see a half-naked woman on the trail."
Anyone wishing to report information regarding this case should call officer Brad Brenner at 610-582-4276.
According to police records, this incident was not the first for which Pennypacker was arrested. In January 2002, he was arrested by Pottstown police for hanging publicity photographs of celebrities in Riverfront Park. Although the photographs did not contain any nudity or other inappropriate content, police cited him for disorderly conduct and scattering rubbish.
In April 2002, Pennypacker was again arrested by Pottstown police, this time for hanging more photographs, including two nude photos of celebrities, in Riverfront Park.