The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Restaurant co-owner charged in alleged hidden-camera case

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VANCOUVER - A warrant is out for the arrest of a restaurant co-owner who authorities allege observed or recorded people "in a place in which they could reasonably be expected to be nude."

Two former employees of the restaurant say they were told by a co-owner not charged in the matter that he discovered a USB-key-sized camera on Dec. 18, 2012 while cleaning around the toilet in the co-ed washroom used by patrons and staff of the now-closed upscale establishment.

Police and the Crown would not comment on the case.

The Crown alleges Allan Bosomworth observed or recorded people "in a place in which they could reasonably be expected to be nude, to expose their genital organs and, or anal region," according to the indictment and arrest warrant filed Sept. 13, 2013. The documents cite part of section 162 of the Criminal Code.

The alleged offence, which carries a prison sentence of up to five years but has not been proven in court, took place between Dec. 14, 2012 and Dec. 18, 2012, according to the court document.

During the busy Christmas party season, the only bathroom at Two Chefs And A Table, a popular, upscale, 28-seat restaurant on the edge of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, would have been used by hundreds of guests. It was the only private space in the restaurant, and the place where staff routinely changed in and out of their uniforms before and after their shifts.

"I personally cannot go into a public washroom anymore without having this panicky feeling and having to look around," said a woman who worked as a server at the restaurant , which closed in June, 2013. The woman asked that her name not be used.

The windows of the small white building are papered over and the doors barred shut. But the company continues to operate two other restaurants: Big Lou's Butcher Shop, one block south of the shuttered location, and Two Chefs in Richmond, B.C., where the company's catering kitchen is located.

The exact location of the offence is not specified in the court document other than that it occurred at or near Vancouver, B.C.

The Vancouver police department and Crown counsel have refused to comment on the case, to clarify the charges or answer questions about whether potential victims will be notified. Likewise, a court records search for any search warrants issued during the investigation did not yield results.

However, the server and another woman who worked at the restaurant both say Two Chefs' co-owner, Karl Gregg, told them about a camera he found in the Vancouver eatery's bathroom.

Motion activated video cameras the size of a thumb drive can be purchased online for under $20. They are designed to be concealed and to surreptitiously record video when people are present.

Neither of the two former servers could be certain about where the camera was found. The first woman said Gregg told her he found it somewhere on the toilet, but the second woman said she was told it was found in the wastebasket located next to the toilet.

Gregg refused to be interviewed about the case. When contacted by telephone, he said a lawyer hired by the Two Chefs business advised him not to comment on the matter.

The first woman said Gregg told her about the camera when they met at a Starbucks on Jan. 15, 2013. She said he said he was sorry and that he thought he might end up working as a line cook when the story becomes public.

"I don't remember exactly what (Gregg) said, but he basically insinuated that (the camera) had been filming people doing their stuff in the bathroom," the server said.

''I honestly went into a bit of shock when he told me. I was just sickened. I'm pretty sure I was shaking. Trying not to cry," she said.

"I don't believe people do things like that unless there's a reason behind them. Something has to have happened to them and gone wrong in their past. You know, you can go online and find any kind of pornography you want," the woman said.

"You don't need to film the people you're working with."

The second server said she met with Gregg the same day at the restaurant. She said while other staff were setting tables around them, Gregg told her about the camera.

"I remember being just sick to my core," she said. "I was very disoriented and couldn't really conceive of what I had just been told. And that feeling didn't really go away for a few months."

She said Gregg told her the footage, which he said he viewed upon finding the device, was fuzzy. He told her the only faces visible in the footage are his own, which was captured when Gregg discovered the device, and that of his business partner Bosomworth.

Both servers said Gregg told them he reported the matter to the police, prompting the investigation.

Neither of the two servers interviewed by The Canadian Press were interviewed or involved in the police investigation despite having worked on the nights in question. They say officers working on the case told them police would not be informing the victims of the alleged act since the camera only captured footage of people from the waste down, the first server said.

"I feel like it's important that people know these kinds of things exist out there and there is the potential to be victimized in the places that you think you're completely safe,'' she said.

A hostess at the Two Chefs Richmond location provided Gregg's cell phone number. But when asked for Bosomworth's contact information, at first the hostess did not recognize the name and then said she did not work with him and did not have his phone number.

Gregg would not provide contact information for his lawyer or for Bosomworth.

Bosomworth has not appeared before court to face the charges and could not be reached for comment.

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