Camera in Basalt bathroom lands man in hot water
January 12, 2013
BASALT – A Basalt City Market employee was arrested on suspicion of multiple crimes Friday after police say he installed a camera in the women’s bathroom of the store to spy on his girlfriend.
Louis Garcia Turbin, 29, of Blue Lake in El Jebel, allegedly placed a camera shaped like a standard electrical outlet on the wall of a handicapped-toilet stall of the bathroom, according to Basalt Police Sgt. Penny Paxton. The girlfriend reported the strange object to the store security officer on Friday, and Turbin was brought in for questioning.
“It was obvious it wasn’t supposed to be there,” Paxton said of the video camera. It looked like an outlet, she said, except there was a hole between the plug-ins.
Paxton said Turbin admitted to installing the camera after she read him his rights.
“He said, ‘Yes, somebody found my video camera,'” Paxton said.
Turbin allegedly told police he suspected that his girlfriend was going into the bathroom to call another boyfriend. He said he purchased the surveillance camera online, Paxton said. The camera could record video but not access it from a remote site, she said. Paxton was unable to determine if the camera recorded audio.
The girlfriend allegedly saw the camera one day two weeks ago and then became suspicious when it reappeared Friday, Paxton said. Turbin said he was unable to reach any conclusion about his girlfriend’s fidelity from the use of the camera the first time, so he tried again Friday.
Paxton said she arrested Turbin initially on suspicion of domestic violence and stalking. She added four charges of criminal invasion of privacy, a Class 2 misdemeanor, after consulting with prosecutors. Those charges stem from video of other women using the bathroom.
Paxton stressed that the video from Friday was confiscated before anyone could view it. The video is secure in evidence with the prosecutors, she said.
“There is no other video out there,” she said.
As the investigation unfolded, additional charges were filed against Turbin. He allegedly gave Paxton his brother’s name initially, she said, so he was charged with criminal impersonation. He also was charged later with second-degree burglary for entering a bathroom where he didn’t belong, Paxton said. Both charges are felonies. He allegedly placed the camera at 5:45 a.m., when few other workers were present.
Turbin is in custody in Eagle County jail. Paxton said Immigration and Customs Enforcement is checking if Turbin is in the U.S. legally.