Iowa City Landlord Arrested for Spying on Tenants

By Vanessa Miller, Reporter

IOWA CITY, Iowa - A 63-year-old Iowa City landlord and local businessman is facing a charge invasion of privacy after police said he admitted to peeping on his female tenants while they were showering in an apartment building at 639 South Lucas St.

And Elwyn Gene Miller could face additional charges, as investigators are looking into whether there are more victims in the same building and in any of the other three properties he owns.

"(Detectives) do think it's been going on for an extended period of time," Iowa City police Lt. Doug Hart said.

A woman called police about 11 a.m. Wednesday to report a man peeping into her apartment bathroom through a hole in her ceiling, according to a criminal complaint. The woman pointed out the suspect – later identified as Miller – to police in the complex's parking lot, and an investigator confronted him.

Miller, according to a police report, made it clear he had been peeping into the woman's bathroom while she was in the shower, according to the complaint. During an interview with police, officers learned Miller watched other women in other apartments on multiple occasions, according to the complaint.

Miller told police he was "not interested in them as persons but because they were women and naked," officers reported.

Hart said the woman was toweling off after a shower when she noticed a hole and got the impression that someone was watching her at that moment.

"Subsequent observations she made led her to believe it was the landlord," Hart said.

Investigators are working to identify more victims, Hart said. Public records show Miller owns three properties on Lucas Street – at 637, 639 and 641 – and one at 1024 E. Burlington St. Hart said detectives are investigating whether Miller was watching tenants in those buildings as well.

Because Miller is believed to have been peeping for an extended period of time, Hart said, it's possible some of his previous tenants were victims and didn't know it.

"It's not something that just happened recently," he said.

Detectives are looking into whether Miller recorded anything he saw, Hart said.

Miller, who appears to run the Iowa City-based Miller Electric Company, does not have a significant criminal history in Iowa.

When reached by The Gazette on Thursday, Miller said he "can't make any comment right now, I'm sorry." He did confirm that he is a landlord in the complex and has been a landlord there for 15 years.

Michael Prosper said he and his girlfriend live in the 639 South Lucas St. apartment building and was home when police were called Wednesday. Prosper said he heard "a lot of yelling and screaming" and someone hitting the walls.

The only words Prosper said he could make out in all the shouting were, "something about her wanting to get out of her lease."

Prosper said he's not worried that Miller has been spying on his girlfriend because he checked the walls for holes.
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