Man arrested after hidden cameras found in bathrooms at University of Utah Recreation Center

The 32-year-old was arrested hours after the first camera was discovered, the police said.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Eccles Student Life Center and Kahlert Village on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City on Thursday, October 27, 2022. A man is in custody after two hidden cameras were installed in all Gender toilets at the Student Life Center on Wednesday, November 30, 2022, campus police announced.

A man is in custody after two hidden cameras were found in all-gender restrooms at the University of Utah’s main fitness and recreation center on Wednesday, campus police said Thursday.

The arrested 32-year-old man was not a student, staff member or faculty member at the U., police said.

He is suspected of stealing a colleague’s university identification number to gain access to the Student Life Center and claims he was an alumnus to get a gym pass, according to a probable cause statement. Police described the employee as an “acquaintance” of the suspect and said the identification number was stolen without their knowledge.

The first of two hidden cameras was discovered around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, fixed under a sink in a third-floor all-gender toilet, police said. The patron who found it took it to the front desk, and the front desk staff called campus police.

(Paighten Harkins|The Salt Lake Tribune) Brian Lohrke of the University of Utah’s Department of Public Safety provides an update during a news conference Thursday, December 1, 2022, after hidden cameras were discovered in two restrooms on campus. Officers have arrested a 32-year-old man who they believe planted the cameras.

Responding officers confiscated the camera and conducted a search of the building’s restrooms, where they found a second camera hidden in an all-gender restroom in the basement.

Tape was also found under a sink in an all-gender toilet on the second floor, police said.

Investigators were able to identify a suspect in the case after reviewing images from the two confiscated cameras, police said. He was arrested at his home in Murray around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. It’s unclear if a potential third camera was spotted after the man’s arrest.

Detectives have so far identified two or three victims who were caught on camera, US Department of Public Safety’s Brian Lohrke said during a news conference on Thursday, noting that police are at a “very early stage” in the investigation . He said officers didn’t know Thursday how long the cameras had been hidden in the toilets.

Lohrke declined to say whether anything captured on camera was streamed or distributed.

The arrested man is being held without bail in the Salt Lake County Jail on suspicion of identity fraud, a third-degree felony, and voyeurism, a misdemeanor. The Salt Lake Tribune generally does not identify defendants unless they have been charged with a felony.

Lohrke said the man declined to speak to investigators after his arrest, adding that police had not determined a motive.

“We are outraged by the grotesqueness of this crime — violating our campus’ sense of privacy and security in a place designed to be fun and safe,” Jason Hinojosa, the campus’s interim police chief, said in a statement. “We have a suspect in custody, but we’re not celebrating.”

“As we fill in the facts of this case,” his statement continued, “we have victims that we need to focus on in order to identify them, offer our support, and get them the resources they need to recover from this trauma.” deal with.”

Hinojosa said investigators were working to protect all of the images and video found on the cameras. All evidence obtained from the cameras, according to a police statement, “is stored on a locked-down, traceable system and is only accessible to the investigating detectives and their supervisors.”

“No images were downloaded to police laptops or cellphones,” police said.

University staff will check bathrooms across campus for additional cameras, police said.

Anyone who sees suspicious activity or finds a camera — or signs of a camera, like the tape police spotted in a bathroom — should not touch the potential evidence and contact campus police at 801-585-2677.

“Many of our guests will feel harassed and hurt by the perpetrator who installed these cameras in what were perceived to be private and secure areas of our recreation center,” John MacDonald, director of the Student Life Center, said in a statement Wednesday to center staff and well-wishers .

“Please know that the university leadership shares your outrage and will do everything in their power to hold accountable the person who destroyed our sense of safety and community,” the statement continued.

Anyone affected by this case can contact victim advocates at the Center for Student Wellness and campus police. The university’s psychiatric services are also available to anyone affected, officials said.

https://www.sltrib.com/news/2022/12/01/hidden-cameras-found-university/ Man arrested after hidden cameras found in bathrooms at University of Utah Recreation Center

Justin Scacco

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