Hidden camera found in Sky Harbor airport bathroom; worker resigns

PHOENIX - An airport communications dispatcher has resigned from his job at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport after being accused of hiding cameras inside a restroom.

Phoenix police detectives have been investigating the former employee since August, when the man's female co-worker discovered a recording device hidden beneath a toilet lid in the unisex, employee restroom.

ABC15 has chosen not to reveal the suspect's name since he has only been arrested and not formally charged. 

The suspect, 27, worked in various capacities at the airport since January 2006, according to his resume.

THE BATHROOM INCIDENT

On August 6, 2012, a female employee told detectives "for some odd reason she just had a feeling to look under the toilet seat after using the bathroom."

When she lifted the lid, she noticed a small, black object that resembled a key fob. The item contained buttons and was the size of a device someone would use to unlock their car from a remote location.

But it wasn't a key fob. It was a video recorder.

The female employee quickly showed the device to her co-workers, one of whom is the man who is now considered the only suspect in the case.

"(The suspect) took it out of her hand to look at it and tried to quickly dismiss the device as a key fob or a garage door opener," she told police. 

When detectives arrived on the scene, they were unable to find a memory card inside the device.

According to the Phoenix Police report, the suspect is known as "the electronic guru" and even made comments about being an "electronic geek."

The female employee said, "At one point (the suspect) had his back turned to her with the device and it is possible that is when the (memory card) was removed."

THE INVESTIGATION

According to the Phoenix police report, a similar incident occurred on the previous day.

On August 5, 2012, another employee told police "she saw an item that seemed out of place on a brown folding chair," inside the same restroom. 

"After she finished using the toilet she went to…investigate this suspicious item further," according to the police report. 

She later said she thought it was a remote control for a vehicle but thought it was "odd" that a car remote would contain a slot for a micro memory card.

The employee took the item out of the bathroom and handed it to her supervisor. 

The supervisor showed the device to the other dispatchers, and the suspect came forward to claim the device as his own. 

At the time, no one called the police.

SEARCH WARRANTS

Phoenix police detectives conducted search warrants on the suspect's home, car, and work locker. 

They confiscated various computers, drives, and memory cards. They also recovered a black key fob from his vehicle. The key fob, according police records, contained a camera, USB port, and a memory card. 

Detectives are currently analyzing the files for evidence related to the airport incidents.

RESIGNATION

According to the suspect's City of Phoenix personnel file, he received a Notice of Inquiry on August 15, 2012, requesting a response to the allegations against him.

The employee's attorney responded to the notice by sending a letter to the City on August 22, 2012.

"Due to the ongoing criminal investigation, my client…is…not answering any questions regarding the alleged…incident," the letter said.

The City sent the employee a "pre-termination memo" on August 23, 2012, warning him of the consequences of failing to respond to the City's Notice of Inquiry.

"Based on the seriousness of this infraction, the termination of your employment with the City is being recommended," the letter said.

The employee later resigned.

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