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article imageStarbucks sued over hidden bathroom camera

By Kim I. Hartman     Sep 20, 2011 in Business
Washington - A Virginia family has sued the Starbucks Coffee chain after finding a camera hidden under the bathroom sink and pointed at a toilet. The incident has joined a list of 'Peeping Tom' cases that have targeted Starbucks with coffee shop voyeurism.
The family of William Yockey, of Norfolk, Va., was reportedly "visiting the nation's capital" in April when they stopped in the Starbucks, at 7th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue in Northwest Washington, for some hot coffee and to use the facilities, reports WTOP.
According to the complaint filed by Yockey, he and his five-year-old daughter were in the unisex restroom when the girl noticed a small video camera, wedged in the U-joint under the sink, pointing in the direction of the toilet.
Yockey inspected the device and determined it was recording digital images of each person who used the Starbucks restroom. He reported the find to the Starbucks manager and police were called. The video camera was confiscated by police for use in the investigation to determine who had planted the camera used for the restroom surveillance.
Hubert Schlosberg, attorney for the Yockey's, "alleges invasion of privacy and negligence in the civil suit and claims Yockey and his daughter suffered permanent and continuing emotional pain and suffering, humiliation, embarrassment and great emotional distress."
The judge in the case has rejected Starbucks request to dismiss the case.
Photo of starbucks drink next to a netbook with a little girl s legs in the background
Photo of starbucks drink next to a netbook with a little girl's legs in the background
The Washington, D.C. incident adds to the list of news reports on video camera's being secretly installed in Starbucks bathrooms.
In Hartford, Connecticut, Paul Deveau, 51, was accused of recording men in a Starbucks bathroom in West Hartford. He admitted to police he had hidden cameras in multiple locations, including two other Starbucks coffee shops, a gas station, and a Subway restaurant. Deveau was charged with 12 counts of voyeurism and is awaiting trial. Police said the images recorded by the camera "clearly show the men's penises or buttocks, with some also showing their faces."
At San Diego State University police investigated a report of a camera that was placed near a trash can by a voyeur at the Starbucks located at the intersection of College Avenue and Lindo Paseo. Police were unable to determine how long the camera had been in operation. No charges were filed in that incident.
The Glendora, California, Starbucks was targeted by 25-year-old William Zafra Velasco, who police say recorded at least 45 female victims, and children, as they used the restroom of the popular coffee stop.
"The camera was disguised as a plastic coat hook and was affixed to a wall directly across from a toilet," according to KTLA Los Angeles. "Police say Velasco downloaded the device about every hour to his laptop computer while sitting inside his car." Velasco was arrested and his laptop was seized. He was charged with "secretly videotaping victims for sexual gratification, and posted a $50,000 bail."
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