Arroyo Grande Chilis employees fired for toilet camera

July 9, 2010

A woman who had just used the restroom Chilies in Arroyo Grande discovered a cell phone camera hidden in a trash can by a restaurant employee and alleged video voyeur last weekend.

The 41-year-old Porterville resident, who may have been videotaped while using the restroom, told the manager about the camera.

Chilis’ management fired a 32-year-old Grover Beach man suspected of planting the camera. Grover Beach Police confiscated the man’s cell phone and computer to search for possible other photos.

Police submitted the case to the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s office for review. At this time, no arrests have been made.


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16 Comments

  1. pasowino says:

    Cindy, that argument is a little weak. If I set up a video camera in the corner of a stall in the lady’s room, wouldn’t that be cause enough for a search, whether or not I actually hit the record button? I think the police, judge, and manager of the store did the right things. If it was accidental, then that will come out in the investigation, but shouldn’t we at least investigate if this guy is a creep or just a fumble fingers?

    (8) 10 Total Votes - 9 up - 1 down
    • Cindy says:

      pasowino, They didn’t find a video camera set up in the ladies room. They found a cell phone in a cleaning bucket along with other various debris in it. The woman claimed the cell phone lens was pointing at the toilet. Here is what KSBY reported, read it and then you tell me?

      “Police don’t know if the camera was actually recording at the time it was discovered. They also want to emphasize they haven’t confirmed that images were being captured or transmitted from the phone or computer. They’ll be going through both and hope to have results within the next two weeks.”

      Now if they don’t know if the cell phone was recording and found no pictures, how did they get a warrant to search the man’s computer? That just sounds ‘very far reaching’ and they shouldn’t be able to search his computer unless they have evidence that he at least actually committed a crime.

      Too all you male naysayers, I say God Help you if you lose your cell phone while cleaning a ladies room because you will loose your rights to privacy against search and seizure too. This doesn’t seem right to me.

      There is one possibility I can think of that might have justified the computer seizure. It seems to me that there are state of the art cell phones that have the same abilities as a web cam. The cell phone can transmit live video to a computer IP address. If this was the case, I should think that LEO would have taken the phone to a sales outlet and inquired/ confirmed if the phone was set up to, or could have been transmitting. If this was the case then I would agree that it would be necessary to expand the investigation into the mans home and personal electronic effects.

      (-9) 9 Total Votes - 0 up - 9 down
      • BeenThereDoneThat says:

        First as one of the male naysayers I can say that if I lost my phone or if my computers were seized, I have nothing to worry about getting arrested for. So go ahead and seize.

        Second. Again when something is found between supplies it sounds more placed than fallen. If it had fallen wouldn’t it be on top??

        Last if that was my wife or daughter on the camera the guy wouldn’t have to worry about the police. HE SHOULD WORRY ABOUT ME!!!!

        (3) 7 Total Votes - 5 up - 2 down
        • Cindy says:

          I didn’t see the bucket the cell phone was located in. I’d say a cell phone can fall any which way. It could easily fall between a couple of spray bottles. As for not having a problem with having your computers seized for two weeks (they said two weeks) I’d be damn mad. I need my computers for work. If somebody takes my property, they had better have a solid reason.
          You can bet that I would be doing something about it with a vengeance, a legal one, that is.

          (-8) 10 Total Votes - 1 up - 9 down
          • Saveslocounty says:

            Cindy, you naivety and defense of the underdog based on the tiny morsels of information that has been released is someone foolish. Even my cell phone has a video camera capability and I am really low on the technology gene pool. To determine what is on the phone, the police must have it examined by a forensic computer specialist that can testify in court as an expert witness, not a pimple faced geek working the Verizon counter.
            Hold on to you vengeance for a while unless you are trying to take creepy pictures of people using the bathroom. They still need probable cause to take an action.

            (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
            • Cindy says:

              Saveslo, I agree when you say: “They still need probable cause to take an action.” That is my exact point. Frankly if men don’t care that a lost cell phone in the wrong place can equate to having their computers confiscated, then why should I care? I care because I know that your cell phone can fall out of your pocket, especially if your working and moving up and down. I don’t like seeing the law taking advantage of violating people’s rights. Also it makes no sense that somebody wants to see a thigh land on a toilet seat when they can see more at the beach. The cell phone couldn’t have been placed in front of a toilet seat where you see a little swatch of something. It wasn’t on the back of the toilet where you see the same thing that you see at the beach sported in a g-string bikini. It had to be to the side. What can anybody see? I have a hard time believing somebody was recording a thigh in the ladies stall rather than to believe that they dropped their cell phone and didn’t see it because it fell in a bucket and the sound of it dropping was buffered by the towels and debris in the cleaning bucket. That deduction isn’t unreasonable.
              MY POINT is that they should have some proof before they go around confiscating peoples computers.

              (-1) 3 Total Votes - 1 up - 2 down
              • Saveslocounty says:

                I don’t disagree but, even you must conclude that they had some reasonable cause to move the case forward and the DA’s Office filed charges. They don’t file for the fun of it and are always concerned about their conviction ratios. The other component is us guys know what creeps we can be and that you will not likely ever understand what gets a guy aroused. The toilet is the last place where I would want to see anything but for some, they get off on the excitement of nearly getting caught while looking at something that is taboo. Weird but true. This did not constitute military tactics to roam the countryside confiscating coputers to see what people are looking at. I actually appreciate that the AG police took the time to do an investigation and did not jump to any conclusion. That was highly professional and in my opinion, they have a perv that lost his equipment and will be facing a judge. Good job.

                (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
  2. BeenThereDoneThat says:

    It says in this mornings Trib that it was found in a bucket of cleaning supplies between things. From the description it sounds stradigically placed. This doesn’t sound like a case of opps I dropped my phone.

    (7) 7 Total Votes - 7 up - 0 down
  3. MarkJames says:

    Not so fast Saveslocounty, From the Tribune article:

    “Hough said that there has been no confirmed evidence that any images were captured or transmitted from either the seized cell phone or the seized computer.”

    If they didn’t initially have any evidence that any images had been recorded it’s reasonable to question how and why law enforcement obtained any right to take his computer.

    (1) 9 Total Votes - 5 up - 4 down
    • Saveslocounty says:

      Well they must have found something in order for the DA to file a charge of “using a concealed video camera to record a person in a public restroom.” You can assume the cops were wrong on everything they do but it looks like they have done a thorough investigation and the DA agreed with the findings. AGPD did a nice job of putting the case together to protect us from some perv video taping in the bathroom.

      (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down
  4. Cindy says:

    Saveslo – If you read the initial story in the TT. It does not say that they found anything on his cell phone. It say’s they were examining the cell phone and his home computer to see if there were any recordings and at no time does it say that they actually had retrieved or observed a recording on the cell phone.

    It wasn’t until the update that the TT said they had actually found a recording. Big Difference.

    (-7) 13 Total Votes - 3 up - 10 down
  5. Saveslocounty says:

    No one has a right to invade the privacy of any other individual and there is clearly such an expectation in the bathroom. Obviously there is more minute detail to support the alligation and the AG cops are pretty bright. A driopped cell phone doesn’t accidently land in a position to either record or transmit in the bathroom. No judge would sign a search warrant unless sufficient probable cause has been established offering proof that he “planted” the camera. Yes,Cindy, the number of sexual preditors and violators is totally out of control. The DA and the courts will determine the validity of the complain and he was not deprived of his freedome while they conduct the investigation. The man deserves nothing.

    (12) 14 Total Votes - 13 up - 1 down
    • Missy23 says:

      Don’t talk about someone if you dont know them!

      (-5) 9 Total Votes - 2 up - 7 down
  6. Cindy says:

    OOpppss… The TT just did an update. Don’t know why it took so long for LE to identify a video recording of someone using the restroom !! I guess some of those cell phones can be tricky to operate. Unbelievable. What next?

    (-4) 10 Total Votes - 3 up - 7 down
  7. Cindy says:

    This is bizarre. If there were no photo’s on the cell phone then whats the big deal? Did anyone ever consider that the cell phone fell out of the Employee’s pocket while cleaning the rest rooms? Since when does gov have a right to come into our homes and seize our computer with no evidence other than our cell phone was found in a bathroom? If they don’t find that he did anything wrong this could/SHOULD cost us all another law suit.

    What judge would issue a search warrant based on no evidence? This is getting out of control.

    (-9) 19 Total Votes - 5 up - 14 down
    • stevo says:

      FIRST OF ALL FROM SOMEONE WHOM WAS ACTUALLY THERE THAT NIGHT AND KNOWS OF WHAT I SPEAK. YOU SHOULDN’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT THINGS OF THIS NATURE, WITHOUT MORE INFO. I CAN’T SAY EXACTLY HOW I KNOW THE PHONE WASN’T ACCIDENTALLY DROPPED THERE, BUT IF YOU KNEW WHAT I KNEW, YOU WOULD KNOW THIS GUY IS A LOW LIFE WHO SET UP INNOCENT WOMEN AND CHILDREN TO BE EXPOSED ON VIDEO. SOMETHING TELLS ME YOU MIGHT HAVE A DIFFERENT OPINION IF IT WAS A LOVEDE ONE OF YOURS THAT WAS VIOLATED. HOPEFULLY YOU NEVER HAVE TO DEAL WITH THIS TYPE OF INDIGNITY, BUT IF YOU DO, HOPEFULLY YOU WON’T HAVE COMMENTS LIKE YOURS TO MAKE THINGS WORSE.

      (5) 11 Total Votes - 8 up - 3 down

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