HILLSBORO, Ore. — After several local cases of people hiding cameras in bathrooms at their work or inside someone home, KGW spoke to a Washington County Sheriff’s Detective about hidden cameras.
The biggest takeaway here is you do not want to be paranoid, but detectives do see this happen and say it probably happens more than we realize.
“Anything you can think of, yeah, I've seen a camera in it or personally put one in it for part of an investigation,” explained a Washington County Sheriff’s Detective we cannot name because he does undercover work.
But, when he says you can put a camera in anything, he means it. From hollowed out alarm clocks to wall thermostats, he demonstrated how easy it is to hide a camera.
This detective hides cameras to catch human traffickers and drug dealers, but there are others who use the tiny cameras to commit crimes.
While he does this to catch human traffickers and drug dealers there are others who use these tiny cameras to commit crimes.
“The thrill for them is not seeing someone nude per se, it's the thrill of seeing the person nude without their consent," he explained. "Without them knowing about it, it's that slight power exchange, that ha ha I got to do this and you couldn't stop me."
Just look at the most recent case against Johnny Chan.
He was first accused of putting cameras in a restroom at Kaiser Permanent where he worked as a pharmacist. Then, prosecutors added charges, accusing him of hiding a camera in the Banana Republic employee restroom at Cascade Station. Court documents show investigators believe he filmed at least 51 different people.
KGW spoke with a victim who asked to remain anonymous.
“After this, I’m paranoid to use a public restroom. I’m scared someone’s looking at me or filming me now,” the victim explained. “I’m very scared.”
Detectives say the trick to spotting a hidden camera is looking for something that is out of place or noticing unusual behavior.
“If you see someone, you know, like around the bathroom or something, they're just kind of loitering around, acting strange could they be waiting for their chance to go back in and get their camera out?" the detective said. "Certainly, we've had a case where that occurred.”
There are even cameras designed to look like USB phone charges. They even plug into the wall and work as a charger, but if you see one suddenly appear in the bathroom, take a closer look.
There are also some cameras that connect to Wi-Fi and stream video directly to the internet. There are other cameras though where the person has to physically go back and get the footage they’ve recorded. Detectives said that is often how people get got.
One more tip, if you are worried about a hidden camera in your home, change the name of your Wi-Fi network and password frequently. Changing the access will stop the camera from streaming video to the internet.