Employee finds hidden Internet camera in car dealership bathroom in Dundalk

July 30, 2004|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF

A hidden Internet camera was discovered Wednesday evening in a unisex restroom at a Ford dealership in Dundalk, Baltimore County police said.

The device was found after a female employee reported seeing a green light in the mirror of the restroom at Norris Ford on Merritt Boulevard, police said. Employees later uncovered a hole behind the mirror and what police described as a "Web camera" on the premises.

To be operational, the camera would have to be connected to a computer, said Officer Shawn Vinson, a spokesman for county police. An office is on the other side of the restroom, he said. No correlating Web site had been found yesterday, police said.

The 200 employees of Norris Ford, as well as its customers, can use that restroom, said general manager Jeff Grossman.

Police were called to the dealership about 5:15 p.m. Wednesday and continued to investigate yesterday, the general manager said.

No arrests were made. Grossman said he had told his employees what was going on and that many of them were being interviewed yesterday by police.

Surveillance in a private place is a crime, Vinson said. The misdemeanor charge carries a possible penalty of as much as $1,000 and up to six months in jail.

Two recent Howard County cases involving illegal surveillance resulted in jail time.

Edward George Campion III, an Elkridge landlord, was sentenced in July 2001 to six months in jail after being convicted of four video surveillance charges. Police found pinhole cameras hidden in bathrooms and bedrooms after one of two women who had rented rooms in Campion's house discovered a tape showing the other woman's bathroom. Wade Carl Hoffarth, a former maintenance technician at the Phillips School in North Laurel, was sentenced in August 2002 to four months in jail after admitting that he had videotaped his co-workers using a school bathroom.

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