Transient Accused of Using Hidden Cellphone to Record Patrons in Starbucks Bathroom in Lancaster
A 38-year-old transient was arrested Thursday for allegedly placing a cellphone inside a women’s restroom at a Starbucks coffee shop in Lancaster, authorities announced Friday.
The cellphone was discovered on July 9 by a woman and her 5-year-old son while they were using the restroom at a Starbucks near Avenue K and 10th Street West.
“My son used the restroom first and I used the restroom after him,” she told KTLA. “I noticed he was staring at the sink a little bit perplexed. I asked him what was wrong and he said, ‘Mommy, why is there a phone under there?'”
When she looked under the sink, the woman saw a cell phone propped up by paper towels with the camera pointing toward the toilet.
She immediately notified employees who contacted the sheriff’s department.
“The deputies discovered that the cellphone was running in a video-recording motion,” said Lt. Joseph Fender with the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station.
On Thursday, detectives were able to retrieve a photo of a man from the recovered cell phone. He was identified as Antonio Serrano, according to a news release from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Serrano was arrested and booked on suspicion of videotaping in a bathroom without consent, the release stated.
During the investigation, detectives discovered Serrano was in possession of false government documents, additional cell phones, and Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards.
It was believed that there might be other victims at additional locations in the Lancaster and Los Angeles areas.
Serrano allegedly told detectives he had been videotaping women and children in the restroom for a couple of months, the release stated.
He was being held on $20,000 bail and was scheduled to appear in court on Monday.
Anyone who used this particular restroom in the past month or believes they have information about this incident was encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Lancaster Station at 661-948-8466.
If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing 800-222-TIPS (8477), or texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or by using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.