They may seem like your average plastic coat hook, perfect for hanging your jacket while using the restroom—but authorities are now warning these inconspicuous hooks may be recording your every move.
Three incidents of the coat hook cameras are being investigated after the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office found them located in women’s restrooms in the Florida Keys area.
The three hooks, all rigged with cameras, were mounted in plain sight on the walls in the bathrooms. One was found on May 26 in a beachside bathroom, the second on May 28 in a convenient store bathroom, and the third on May 31 in a public park and beach restroom.
Residents and businesses in the area were sent a written statement by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), warning people to be on the lookout for the objects.
MCSO said the cameras can be easily purchased online and are advertised as “home security devices,” but in these instances, the cameras were clearly misused.
“Anyone who has a public restroom on their property needs to check them closely,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay of the MSCO. “If you find anything suspicious you think might contains a hidden camera, don’t touch it, call us right away and we will respond.
“Keep in mind, though, that these are very small cameras that can be mounted in many locations and hidden in many seemingly everyday items,” said Ramsey.
The MCSO says several detectives have been assigned and are investigating the case.
A simple search for the hooks on the eBay and Amazon online-marketplaces reveal they are very easy to obtain; most of them, advertising the hidden camera for nanny surveillance. In the related fields, cameras disguised as screws, toys, and other inconspicuous items also appear; some of them smaller than a fingernail.
Phone calls for comments from the two beach authorities, the Circle K store, and the MCSO were not returned.
MCSO has asked that anyone with information or questions contact Detective Sergeant Mark Coleman at (305) 853-3211, or Major Crimes Detective Sergeant Kellenberger at (305) 289-2410.