A former mechanic at a Reading Volkswagen in Pennsylvania faces invasion-of-privacy charges after a co-worker discovered a hidden camera under the toilet seat in the women’s bathroom, according to court records.
Jason Vander Duim, 37, of Phoenixville, Chester County, remained free to await a hearing on four counts of invasion of privacy following arraignment Feb. 22 before District Judge Brian K. Strand.
According to the probable cause affidavit:
A female employee at Reading Volkswagen, 2746 Bernville Road, noticed something that she thought might be a freshener under the toilet seat in the second-floor women’s bathroom about 11 a.m. on Jan. 12.
A short time later, a second female employee was in the restroom and saw something strange under the toilet seat that she immediately recognized as a hidden camera.
The second woman used her cellphone to take a photo of the device and went to the general manager’s office to report the discovery. The camera was gone when she went back a few minutes later to retrieve it.
The general manager contacted police and directed information technology personnel to check the Wi-Fi for the building to see if there were any unauthorized users or unusual activity.
Detective Sgt. Brett Forry and the general manager decided to address the employees as a group because no one had left the building since the camera had been found.
The manager told employees a hidden camera had been found in the women’s bathroom and a criminal investigation was underway. He told them IT personnel were checking the Wi-Fi to possibly identify the voyeur.
If anyone wanted to come forward, Forry said, he would be available in the general manager’s office.
About five minutes later, Vander Duim, an auto technician, walked into the office and admitted he put the camera under the toilet seat.
He said he was in the adjoining men’s restroom when he heard the second woman say, “What the hell is this?” He waited for her to leave the bathroom, got the camera and threw it in a dumpster outside.
He said he had hidden the camera when he arrived at work that day about 6:30 a.m. He said he had done this about three other times over the previous several weeks. The camera linked via Wi-Fi to his phone and he would view the images at home.
Forry asked Van Duim to retrieve the camera from the dumpster. Van Duim showed Forry his phone, which had photos from 16 dates from Sept. 24 to Jan. 12. Some of the photos were taken from the ceiling.