A police department in Florida issued a warning to residents about a terrifying new trend being done by predators across the country - hidden cameras disguised as coat hangers being placed in women's bathrooms.
The Key West sheriff's department warned residents in May of 2016 after an investigation into the cameras began.
Detectives in the Upper Keys are investigating three reports involving hidden cameras found in women’s restrooms.
In all three incidents, miniature cameras hidden in coat hooks were found mounted on the walls in the women’s restrooms. They were found at Anne’s Beach on May 26th, the Circle K Store at the 99.8 mile marker of Highway U.S. One on May 28th and in the women’s bathroom at Harry Harris Park in Tavernier today.
The coat hooks mounted in all three locations are identical to devices available for purchase on line, sold by various companies as “home security devices”. Detectives have notified Monroe County Public Works and Islamorada Public Works and asked them to check all the bathrooms at county and city facilities; Sheriff Rick Ramsay wants to let everyone know so they also can be on the lookout.
Sheriff Rick Ramsey instructed residents on what to do if they see a coat hanger camera in a bathroom.
“Anyone who has a public restroom on their property needs to check them closely,” said Sheriff Ramsay. “If you find anything suspicious you think might contain a hidden camera, don’t touch it. Call us right away and we will respond,” he said.
All of the devices found so far look like simple white coat hooks with the camera mounted behind it and utilizing a very small hole in the top portion of the coat hook for the lens of the camera. They use motion detection cameras inside to take video.
“Keep in mind, though, that these are very small cameras that can be mounted in many locations and hidden in many seemingly every-day items,” said the Sheriff.
Detectives are assigned to investigate the cases.
News of the scam quickly went viral, with many expressing fear as well as outrage towards people who would target women in such a disturbing way.
"Gross, what is attractive about someone using the bathroom? Definitely need to get that sick b*****d locked up and some mental help. Now I'll just hold it forever when I see a hook in a bathroom!" one reader commented on the MSCO's Facebook page.
"What else is coming our way to just so sicking what people [are] doing," another added on our Facebook page.