Hidden cameras found in women’s restrooms spark investigation in Keys

TAVERNIER, Fla. (WSVN) – Detectives are investigating three reports that involve hidden cameras found in women’s restrooms in the Florida Keys.

According to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, all three incidents involved miniature cameras hidden in coat hooks. These lined the walls in the women’s restrooms.

The hidden cameras were found at Anne’s Beach in Islamorada, on May 26, the Circle K Store at the 99.8 mile marker of U.S. 1, on May 28, and at Harry Harris Park, in Tavernier, Tuesday.

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Al Ramirez showed 7News a women’s bathroom stall where officials found one of the coat hooks. “In this particular stall, this is where it was located. As you can see, the scrape marks,” he said as he pointed to markings along the stall wall.

The camera found on Tuesday pointed at the toilet at Harry Harris Park. The cameras were motion-activated. They’re meant to be used for security, but investigators said a Peeping Tom is using them to record women in their most private moments.

“Oh my gosh, that is scary. That’s very scary,” said park visitor Jessica Cabrera. “You know, I would feel like somebody’s raping me with their eyes, pretty much. Wow.”

Katie Wasula, who also visited the park, said she used the public bathroom two days ago. She fears she may have been caught on camera. “I’d like to think that didn’t happen because that would be absolutely terrifying,” she said. “If it did, I sure hope they find the person who put the camera in there.”

Officials are leaving no stone unturned as they continue to search for any remaining hidden cameras. “We’re going around checking all the convenience stores, all the hotels, all the public restrooms that are being used in the county,” Ramirez said. “I sent them out looking for these things, ’cause we’re really concerned. We’re taking it very serious.”

In an online statement, Monroe Sheriff Rick Ramsay said public restrooms should be monitored carefully. “Anyone who has a public restroom on their property needs to check them closely. If you find anything suspicious you think might contain a hidden camera, don’t touch it. Call us right away, and we will respond.”

The mounted coat hooks in all three locations are identical to devices available for purchase online, detectives said. The footage is recorded onto an SD card.

Ramsay also stressed in his statement that these devices can easily be hidden. “Keep in mind, though, that these are very small cameras that can be mounted in many locations and hidden in many seemingly everyday items.”

The Sheriff’s Office is desperate to find the person who is tainting the security in the Keys. “We want people that come down to our county to feel safe,” Ramirez said. “We don’t want people having to look behind their shoulder. You come here to relax.”

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office believes the same person is behind all three hidden camera incidents. Officials said if anyone finds one of these cameras, call authorities and emphasize not to touch it. The device may have evidence, such as fingerprints.

If you have any information on these hidden cameras, call Monroe County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-346-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.

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