EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

August 17, 2012

Man jailed after caught hiding under woman's home, videotaping

Orleans man tells police he has a history of similar criminal activity

By Jo-Anne MacKenzie

---- — SALEM, N.H. — A woman heard a noise and saw movement in a vent in her bathroom Tuesday night, and thought there might be an animal trapped there.

When she looked into the vent, a man’s face was peering up at her.

The man even tried to reassure her, Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten said.

“Hey, it’s just me,” the man reportedly said. “Don’t be scared.”

But Tina Iacono, 40, was scared and called 911 from her Friendship Drive mobile home.

While police were responding to the scene at about 8:45 p.m. Tuesday, they noticed a man walking along Route 28 who resembled the suspect. Some officers continued on to Iacono’s home, while others stopped to question the man.

It was Christian Hobbs, 44, of Orleans, Mass., who immediately told police, “I did it. I was under the trailer for two days,” Patten said.

But Hobbs wasn’t just under the trailer; he was peering at Iacono and her young son, listening to them through baby monitors and videotaping both of them, creating as many as 16 one-minute videos, police said.

Some of those videos included Iacono’s nude toddler son, leading to a felony charge of manufacturing child pornography, among others.

Hobbs wasn’t a stranger to Iacono. She bought the trailer from him five years ago this month. The home, built in 1968 according to town assessing records, is part of the Good Luck Trailer Park, across Route 28 from Rockingham Park.

And just about two weeks ago, Iacono hired Hobbs to do some work on her trailer.

After investigating, police concluded Hobbs had hooked up two baby monitors in the trailer — one in the bedroom, the other in a dryer duct. He did that while he was working for Iacono, police said.

But Hobbs returned to the trailer later — uninvited — and cut holes in the trailer home floor and in the floor vent under the bathroom, according to Patten.

He then positioned himself underneath the home, fortified with PowerBars, drinks and tissues, police said. He told police he masturbated while he was under the trailer, watching and videotaping the woman and her young son. Patten said he believed Hobbs used a cellphone to videotape Iacono and her child.

Hobbs advertises on skillpages.com, a website that bills itself as a “skill-based social network,” connecting people looking for work with those who need something done.

On his page, Hobbs advertises himself as a handyman, artist and landscape gardener, who also does painting, decorating, cleaning and sanitation.

But Hobbs told police Tuesday night he’s also been doing something else “for a good part of his life,” Patten said, and that’s committing similar crimes.

Patten said there was no suggestion of physical contact or threat from Hobbs.

“He did mention this isn’t the first time he has been engaged in behavior like this,” Patten said. “We want to make sure if there are prior victims and prior crimes, that they get solved and we will do what we can to help.”

That includes getting in touch with Orleans area law enforcement agencies and alerting them to Hobbs’ activities in Salem, he said.

“He did tell us that, at one point, it got really warm under there and said he went out for a walk,” Patten said.

Hobbs was arraigned in 10th Circuit Court in Salem on charges of felony burglary, felony wiretapping, felony manufacture of child pornography, prowling, criminal mischief, criminal trespassing and violation of privacy.

When he was arrested Tuesday night, Hobbs refused the services of a bail commissioner. At his arraignment yesterday, he was ordered held for lack of $25,000 cash bail. He is scheduled to return to court Sept. 10 for a probable cause hearing.

Hobbs was listed as an inmate at the Rockingham County jail late yesterday.

Follow Jo-Anne MacKenzie on Twitter @ETNHEditor.