Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Spy-cam in women's change room

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A Winnipeg swimming teacher is angry after she discovered a spy-cam hidden in a civic pool change room and found video on it of her naked in the room.

The 26-year-old woman, who asked to remain anonymous, said she had just taught lessons at Seven Oaks Pool and went into the staff change room to shower and dress before going home. She said it was only after she went into the room's lone washroom stall that she noticed a pen sticking out of the disposal box for feminine hygiene products.

"When I touched it, it was warm," she said. "Then I noticed a lens. I opened it up and there was a USB inside."

When she took it upstairs and popped it into the computer at the front desk, she realized it was a spy-cam and it had been on.

"There I am," she said later, showing a reporter a portion of the video in which she enters the change room wearing a bathing suit. A few seconds later a co-worker walks in.

The camera view shows the entire locker area, with the entrance to the shower on one side. Both the video and audio quality are very clear.

"This is creepy. Did someone have a remote to turn it on? You can see me come in, go into the shower and come out. I'm almost full frontal naked in it. That's what creeps me out the most. And I don't even know if someone has seen it already."

A quick Internet search found the device, called a spycam video pen camera, has a two-hour rechargeable battery and can capture hours of video with 4 gigabytes of storage. The tiny lens is located at the top of the pen clip.

 

The device sells for about $70.

The woman said the recording is about 23 minutes long. During the first portion, which shows no video, you can hear the already turned on device being put into the metal receptacle.

She said based on the timing, the unknown person hid the camera in the washroom about 10 minutes before she entered.

"It was just by fluke I went into the washroom stall and found it. If I hadn't, the person could have come back and got it. I won't be changing there next time -- I'll be going home wet.

"I don't trust the place anymore.

The woman said she phoned police and an officer told her they would pick up the camera today.

"It's disgusting," another teacher at the pool said. "It's upsetting, because we don't know if this has happened before and we just haven't found it. Who knows how long this has been going on?"

She said while some civic pools have push-button combination locks on staff areas, there is no lock at the pool where the spy-cam was found.

Coun. Paula Havixbeck, chairwoman of the city's protection and community services committee said not only will the police investigate, city staff will also look into the incident.

"I'm shocked," Havixbeck said. "That's terrible. You can guarantee there will be a full investigation of this. We need to look at all our facilities. I feel terrible for this lady."

It's not the first time spy-cams have been used in Winnipeg washrooms.

In 1999, a Winnipeg man was found guilty of mischief and fined $3,000 after he hid a camera in the women's washroom of his restaurant.

And in 2004, Manitoba Lotteries Corp. terminated three surveillance technicians at Club Regent after they allegedly recorded a woman changing backstage about four years earlier.

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

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