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Off-duty police officer speaks out after finding hidden cameras at tanning salon

Posted at 3:17 PM, Feb 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-20 18:23:03-05

SHELBY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXYZ) — Three hidden cameras were found at a tanning salon in Shelby Township by an off-duty police officer. Now he’s speaking exclusively to 7 Action News reporter Syma Chowdhry about how he found them.

It is a story we first brought to you last week. Ryan Roberts’ curiosity led him to check out a small hole in the wall of a room at Chili Pepper’s Tanning Salon on Van Dyke Road.

Roberts is a police officer in a nearby community and was off-duty when he visited the salon.

“Just got a little suspicious of a hole that was in the wall there,” he said.

The officer shared photos he took on his cellphone. In them, you can see a tiny hole next to a speaker cover. Roberts says it was at the foot of the bed facing upwards, most likely getting views of people in a very vulnerable and exposed position.

Turns out, three tanning rooms had the same hole in the same spot with a hidden camera. Roberts was getting a tan to get ready for a Caribbean vacation. He did the same thing last year and now recalls seeing this before, but brushed it off.

“I’m pretty sure a year ago that hole was still there and I had looked into it, didn’t see anything in there, so when I went back there, I didn’t think much of it,” he said.

Roberts added that being a police officer makes him constantly aware of his surroundings, but something told him to look at the hole again - this time with a flashlight. He then contacted an employee immediately, checked two other rooms and when he found three cameras he called Shelby Township police.

The cameras were sophisticated, wireless and were sending out a livestream.

Shelby Township police are now working with Michigan State Police and the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office to pinpoint this pervert.

“Bit surprising to actually look in there, expecting to see nothing and there is a lens in there,” Roberts said.

The salon is cooperating with police. An employee told 7 Action News they have covered up the holes. Police are investigating and say they are closing in on the creep.

“They’re perverts and they need to be processed through the criminal justice system,” said Shelby Township Police Chief Robert Shelide. “Not going to leave a stone unturned. My officers are working around the clock and we will catch this person.”

Roberts has a message for the person who placed the cameras.

“The heat is on,” he said. “I would suggest they take their fate in their own hands a little bit and maybe come forward and admit what they’ve done.”

Roberts says his story should serve as a reminder to keep your eyes open and be aware of your surroundings.

“There’s a lot of people who live in their 3-foot bubble and they don’t see what’s going on around them,” he added.