MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – The owner of a tour company is under investigation by the Miami Beach Police Department’s Special Victims Unit after allegations surfaced that he was videotaping people in the bathroom of his business. He says the employees are aware of the camera and they’re okay with it.
Miami Beach police said the owner of the Half Price Miami Tours sales shop on Collins Avenue installed a hidden camera.
The camera was reportedly disguised as a motion detector inside a bathroom that doubles as a storage area.
According to allegations in a search warrant obtained by CBS4 News, the restroom is used by employees and customers of the business.
The store’s owner, John Sansax, was not available to talk to reporter Gary Nelson.
“The businesses had been burglarized three times,” said Edward O’Donnell IV, the store owner’s attorney.
The attorney told Nelson the motion detector that was actually a camera was installed after thieves stole $50,000 from a safe in the bathroom.
Employees were informed of the camera, according to documents.
“Everyone’s made aware that they are being recorded. We are being hit heavy, people are stealing from us, we think it’s an inside job,” said O’Donnell.
The bathroom is supposedly off limits, but one employee complained according to the search warrant that the surveillance equipment was installed while the business was closed and without her knowledge.
The woman claimed she often used the restroom.
The store’s owner said she was an ex-employee fired for padding her time sheet and it was her future brother-in-law that went to police.
At least one customer seemed concerned when Nelson asked her about the camera.
“I booked a lot of tours in this store, I’m shocked now,” said Mandy May. Have you used the restroom, Nelson asked. She responded “No, no, fortunately no, but that is unbelievable, you can’t do this.”
An employee of the store was not bothered by the camera. “That’s the way I feel about it, I’m a man, I don’t care,” the employee said.
The owner claims no one ever looked at whatever the disguised camera might have captured because there were no more burglaries.
Police seized the video system from the store and a computer. They stated they did not find any pictures or video on the computer. It has been sent to a special forensics lab to determine whether pictures ever existed on the computer.