|
|
|
MailTribune.com
  • Ashland business owner arrested for hidden camera

    Neighboring restaurant's unisex bathroom allegedly targeted by frame shop proprietor
  • ASHLAND — 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.
    • email print
  • ASHLAND — 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 Thursday by Ashland police on 20 counts of invasion of privacy and a single count of tampering with evidence, according to Jackson County Jail records.
    He was lodged in the jail on $84,000 bail, records show.
    Ashland Police Department Sgt. Warren Hensman confirmed 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' bathroom facility," an APD press release said.
    Hensman would not reveal any details of the investigation.
    According to the release, at about 11 a.m. Thursday, police served a search warrant at Houston's gallery seizing digital evidence and "several items of evidentiary value."
    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.
    "I always had a weird feeling about the hole, it's been there since I started working. ... I was using the restroom (Tuesday) and I saw something different about it," she said.
    The employee then noticed a camera lens and pushed it back with her finger.
    When she returned less than a minute later with co-workers, the lens was gone, she said.
    "It's gross that somebody would do that, women and children and men use that bathroom," she said.
    She and a restaurant manager went next door and confronted Houston, she said, but he nervously denied any knowledge of the incident.
    He was alone in the gallery, she said.
    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 Judicial Department records.
    Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-776-4471 or swheeler@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/swhlr.
Reader Reaction

      calendar