LANCASTER – A 38-year-old man was arrested Thursday on suspicion of placing a cellphone camera inside the women’s bathroom at a Starbucks in Lancaster, authorities announced.
Antonio Serrano was taken into custody after detectives retrieved a photo of Serrano from the cellphone that was allegedly used to secretly record females using the toilet at the Starbucks located at 855 West Avenue K in Lancaster, according to Deputy Joshua Stamsek of the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station. Serrano told detectives he had been video-taping women and children using the restroom for a couple of months, sheriff’s officials said.
The investigation began after a Starbucks customer on July 9 reported that a cellphone was tucked under a sink with its camera pointing toward the toilet inside the single-occupancy women’s restroom.
The woman told KTLA that her 5-year-old son noticed the cellphone, which was propped up by paper towels under the sink.
“I noticed that he was staring at the sink a little bit perplexed and I asked him what was wrong and he said, ‘Mommy, why is there a phone under there?’” the woman said in a KTLA interview.
The Lancaster Sheriff’s Station was immediately notified of the incident, and deputies recovered the cellphone, which was taped to the sink’s pipe lining in the restroom, according to Stamsek.
“Lancaster Sheriff Station detectives, with the assistance of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Fraud and Cyber Crimes Bureau, were able to retrieve a photo of a suspect off of the cellphone. Lancaster Station detectives were able to identify the suspect and arrest him for 647(j)(3)(A) P.C. , which is videoing in a bathroom without consent,” Stamsek stated in a news release. “They also discovered the suspect was in possession of a government document with a false seal and additionally charged him with 472 P.C.”
Serrano, a transient in the Lancaster area, is being held in lieu of $20,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in Antelope Valley Superior Court on Monday, July 20, detectives said in a news release from the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.
“A preliminary investigation revealed there might be numerous victims and additional locations in the Lancaster and Los Angeles areas, due to the fact that the suspect had additional cell phones and SIM [Subscriber Identity Module] cards in his possession at the time of the arrest,” the sheriff’s news release states.
“The suspect also told detectives he has been video-taping women and children using the restroom for [a] couple [of] months. Detectives confirmed this information upon reviewing the videos recovered from the cell phones and SIM cards,” the sheriff’s news release states.
Lancaster Station detectives are asking for the public’s help in locating additional victims who used the women’s bathroom at the Starbucks, located at 855 West Avenue K, from June through July 9. At this time no additional victims have been identified.
If you believe you are a victim and/or have information about this incident, please contact the Lancaster Station at 661-948-8466. To remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477).
Editor’s note: Story updated to include booking photo and additional information from the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.