Man who rented out apartment accused of video voyeurism

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A man accused of recording women on video, who he rented out his apartment to, appeared in court, Wednesday and said someone else placed the cameras in his apartment.

Winston Vargas, 39, was arrested and charged with video voyeurism, a felony charge, after three women who rented out his apartment via Craigslist found cameras in the bathroom. In bond court, Wednesday, Vargas had little to say.

“So here he rents a room to some people then puts hidden cameras in the bathroom, so he can see the people taking a shower,” the judge said, Wednesday.

Police said the secret recording happened in a building on Euclid Avenue and 16th Street. On Monday, three women from Japan rented out the apartment after seeing an advertisement on Craigslist. They discovered the cameras, Tuesday morning.

“Within 24 hours of being there, they noticed something suspicious. In their bathroom there were three clocks, all identical clocks in three different spots within their bathroom, they obviously noticed something was off,” Miami Beach Police’s Ernesto Rodriguez said. “They opened up one of the clocks and discovered there were hidden cameras inside.”

They called police and confronted Vargas. He allegedly told them he’d return their rent money, as long as they didn’t press charges.

But police had a different idea, and Vargas now faces felony charges.

“A man from England placed the cameras there,” said judge Mindy S. Glazer said, reading Vargas’ explanation. “I’m going to set a bond of $5,000. Have a nice day, sir.”

One person currently looking to rent said the idea of someone secretly placing cameras in an apartment is disturbing.

“It’s disturbing, especially now, because right now, myself, I’m looking for a place to live,” Pedro Behrens said.

Brittany Vanderwerf, who’s currently renting a place while visiting from Buffalo, was also concerned.

“I’m a little bit scared now because we just rented a place, and we’re a bunch of college students, so it’s concerning,” Vanderwerf said.

Another Miami Beach resident said she wasn’t surprised. “As a woman, it makes me angry,” Jael Sade said. “I can see it happening. Exchange students and tourists get exploited here all the time.”

Vargas posted bond, but there was no answer at his door when a reporter knocked on it to ask for his side of the story.

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