Hidden camera found in tanning salon, two arrested

Posted by: John Shryock - bio | email

FLORALA, AL (WSFA) - A tanning salon in the small town of Florala is now a crime scene after police found a hidden camera in the tanning bed area.

An investigation started Monday after a 44-year-old female customer of Westside Video and Tan went to police saying that while getting undressed for a tanning session she spotted a camera lens pointing down from the ceiling.

Florala police took the woman's statement and went to the business to look into the complaint. Investigators say when they talked with the store's owner, Timothy Townsen, he was not cooperative about letting officers look upstairs.

After investigators obtained a search warrant, they located an operational camera linked to a television in an upstairs apartment/office space over the salon.

Based upon the possibility of images being recorded over the internet, Florala police reached out to the Alabama Bureau of Investigation's Cyber Crime Unit, which then seized the computers. The machines are now being analyzed for illegal content.

Several parents came forward after learning of the situation because their underage teen children had been tanning at the salon.

In addition to the camera, police also found a small quantity of meth and devices to ingest it as well as marijuana and smoking devices.

Two suspects, Townsend and a Mr. Ricardo Perez, were arrested and taken to the Covington County jail where they're each being held on $250,000 bonds.

The pair is facing criminal surveillance, possession of a controlled substances, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia charges.

The investigation is on-going. If the ABI finds images of underage victims on the computers more state, or possibly federal charges, could follow.

©2010 WSFA. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.