A former building inspector was arrested Tuesday after a monthslong investigation into a camera found hidden in bathrooms in Rancho Palos Verdes, one of them in the affluent suburb’s city hall, officials said.
Andrew James Jensen, a 49-year-old Huntington Beach resident, is accused of installing the device while employed by the city to secretly record his coworkers in the bathroom, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.
A city staffer discovered the camera was discovered in a unisex employee restroom on July 5 and reported it to authorities, prompting a criminal investigation.
The recording device was also installed in a bathroom inside the Starbucks in the Golden Cove Shopping Center, officials said.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Ricky Osburn told the Daily Breeze it was a “miniature spy camera a little bit bigger than a quarter, and he had wrapped it in Velcro and secured it to the underside of the (tampon) dispenser” at City Hall.
Investigators believe it could have been at Starbucks for months, and inside city hall for weeks.
Starbucks customer David Lefkowich described the discovery as “disgusting.”
“What else can you say? It’s kind of as low as you can go,” Lefkowich said.
A Starbucks spokesperson told KTLA employees are supposed to check bathrooms regularly, and customer safety is the company’s priority.
Detectives went through hours of footage from the device and have identified about 89 victims. There was also clips showing the camera being set up, and authorities were able to identify Jensen as a suspect based on “identifying marks,” Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Sampson said.
Jensen was arrested around 2 p.m. Tuesday after L.A. County prosecutors filed a complaint charging him with 89 misdemeanor counts of voyeurism, sheriff’s officials said.
Jensen had been employed by the city for several years, officials said.
In a statement, city officials said Jensen has not been at City Hall since Aug. 2 and has resigned from his post. Officials also said they were “gravely concerned and disturbed by this betrayal of trust and violation of privacy against our employees and the community.”
The city has initiated its own investigation into the matter.
Jensen was being held at the Lomita Sheriff’s Station on $450,000 bail, according to sheriff’s officials. He was scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday.