PEMBROKE PINES, FLA. (WSVN) - Police arrested the owner of a taekwondo academy in Pembroke Pines after, they said, a teenage student discovered hidden video cameras in the bathroom.
Officers took 64-year-old Robert Franco into custody on Friday after investigators found the cameras hidden in plain sight inside the women’s bathroom at Master Franco’s Taekwondo Academy, located in a shopping plaza along Pines Boulevard.
Pembroke Pines Police Capt. Adam Feiner on Saturday described Franco’s alleged actions as a sheer violation of trust and privacy.
“They were unclothed, they were unassuming, and they were behind closed doors in a restroom, either using the bathroom or perhaps changing their clothes,” he said.
Outside the academy, 7News cameras showed a sign welcoming children. There is a summer camp currently taking place at the business.
Inside, police discovered two cameras disguised as picture frames, but they said there could be more.
Investigators said the student who made the disturbing find is a 17-year-old girl.
“A 17-year-old student who had the wherewithal and the courage to … identify that these hidden cameras were detected,” said Feiner. “Absent her having the courage to do so, our road patrol officers would have never known about it.”
Police said the teen called her father before she confronted Franco.
Detectives said the martial arts studio’s owner then tried to destroy the cameras.
Feiner said those cameras may have been rolling since March 2021.
“If you used their dressing room, or if you used their restroom, the Pembroke Pines Police Department urges you to come forward to determine if you were a victim,” he said.
Franco faces multiple charges of video voyeurism and destroying evidence.
Investigators urge anyone wishing to come forward to call Pembroke Pines Police at 954-431-2200 or Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous.
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