'Peeping Toms' Take Advantage Of Evolving Technology, Tulsa Detective Says

Thursday, April 30th 2015, 5:58 pm
By: News On 6

Hidden cameras in the tanning rooms of an Okmulgee gym may have been there at least a month.

Police said the cameras, disguised as clothing hooks, were put in the tanning rooms at Select Fitness sometime before April 5.

Okmulgee Police Chief Joe Prentice said everyone who had access to the tanning rooms is being interviewed as the investigation moves along.

It wasn't the first time hidden cameras have been found in public places in Green Country and police said it won't be the last.

As technology evolves to smaller devices, making cameras easier to hide, Sex Crimes Detective, Rod Russo, said nothing surprises him anymore.

He said they've found secret cameras in locker rooms, retailer's dressing rooms, public bathrooms and even in people's homes.

"No I'm not shocked, what I am is saddened," Russo said.

He's worked in law enforcement for close to 26 years and has seen more peeping tom cases than he can count.

But the term "peeping tom" has become much more complicated in recent years as technology progresses.

With a search engine at your fingertips you'll find cameras of all shapes and sizes that can be hidden in plain sight.

"Now you just kind of have to pay attention. If there's something new in a changing room or if there is something new in a locker room that you haven't seen before that's, kind of, you haven't noticed, bring that to the attention of the people who own the business," Russo suggested.

As a woman discovered at her gym, it doesn't have to be something suspicious, it could easily be concealed as something that belongs in the room - like a tiny camera concealed as a clothes hook.

4/29/2015 Related Story: Hidden Cameras Found In Okmulgee Gym's Tanning Rooms

"You shouldn't have to do that in businesses, you shouldn't have to do that anywhere, but in today's society, with technology being so small and so futuristic, you've got to do that," Russo said.

In unfamiliar places it may be even harder - like a dressing room you've never been in before or a bathroom in a public area.

Russo said, in those situations you should look around and don't get too comfortable.

"Be cautious of what's on the wall and if it's not a blank wall, maybe turn away from it a little bit and get dressed,” he said.

His biggest tip, be vigilant; and in this day and age don't assume what you're doing in private stays there.

Police said charges for hiding cameras to watch people undress can range anywhere from a minor misdemeanor all the way up to felony charges.

They said it depends on the content of the video, what it's used for and if the person has been in trouble for peeping before.