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MailTribune.com
  • Ashland gallery owner arrested for allegedly planting camera in restaurant bathroom

  • Following the discovery of a video camera lens behind a hole in the wall of Pangea restaurant's bathroom in Ashland, the owner of next door Houston's Custom Framing and Fine Art was arrested on multiple counts of invasion of privacy.
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  • Following the discovery of a video camera lens behind a hole in the wall of Pangea restaurant's bathroom in Ashland, the owner of next door Houston's Custom Framing and Fine Art was arrested on multiple counts of invasion of privacy.
    Thomas Michael Houston, 56, of Ashland, was arrested by Ashland police today on 20 counts of invasion of privacy and a single count of tampering with evidence, Jackson County Jail records show.
    He has been lodged in the jail on $84,000 bail, records show.
    Ashland Police Department Sgt. Warren Hensman confirmed that Houston was arrested related to a report of a peeping Tom the department received from a restaurant employee.
    "The investigation indicates that Houston was viewing people in a neighboring business's bathroom facility," an APD press release said.
    At about 11 a.m. today, police served a search warrant at Houston's gallery seizing digital evidence and "several items of evidentiary value," the release said.
    A Pangea employee, who wished to remain anonymous, said she discovered the camera Tuesday while inside the unisex bathroom.
    She said the hole in the wall leads to a back room of Houston's gallery and that it has been there since at least November, when she started working at the restaurant.
    Roanna Rosewood, the restaurant's owner, said the hole was covered immediately following the camera's discovery on Tuesday.
    "We were just horrified. My family, myself, my children use that bathroom," she said. "We are as horrified or more horrified than our customers, because we feel like we have a responsibility to serve them and that didn't happen here."
    Rosewood said the hole was low on the wall and difficult to see, and everyone at Pangea was oblivious to its use.
    "Our customers have been incredible and I want to thank all of our customers for being so understanding ... we are incredibly grateful."
    Houston doesn't appear to have a criminal record in Oregon, according to Oregon Judical Department records.
    — Sam Wheeler
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