The camera was discovered inside this bathroom. (WFSB photo)
Officials said the camera was disguised as a towel hook. (WFSB photo)
MADISON, CT (WFSB) -
Families are on edge after a secret video camera was discovered at a busy campground.
It was found inside a Hammonasset State Park bathroom over the weekend. Police said it was a device that could easily be found online.
"We check now, you check everywhere before, on top," said Antonio Rivera of New Britain.
The story caused a buzz around the grounds since the story broke.
"We felt violated," Rivera said. "Especially my wife. She comes in here."
Police said the lens was nearly impossible to spot. It was the size of a pinhole and disguised as a towel hook. It was also mounted on the back of the bathroom door in direct line with the shower stall.
"It's very alarming, especially in such a nice area with so many families," said Gretchen Magrane from Georgia.
The father who noticed the camera spoke exclusively to Eyewitness News.
"I was like ‘whoa!'" said Pedro Cortes of Uncasville. "I can't believe this is happening to me."
Cortes said he was floored when he found the device.
"You'd never know it was a camera," he said. "And I looked through the hole and saw the camera lens on it."
Cortes said he tracked down police as they were making their way through the campground.
Police said they removed the camera and checked the other 15 bathrooms throughout the grounds. That search turned up empty.
"I've been on over 25 years and this is the first incident I can recall of any type of illegal video, monitoring or surveillance in one of our state parks," said Col. Kyle Overturf, with the Environmental Conservation Police.
Park rangers posted a picture of the camera and warned campers to be on the lookout.
Many campers said they had questions after learning what happened.
"It's a closed campground," said Jason Magrane from New York. "You have to have a tag on your car to get in. I don't know if it would be a camper traveling with that kind of stuff, because mostly it's families here. So that's kind of scary."
Police said the camera used motion detection to start recording. It could hold up to two hours of video. All users had to do to find one was to search online for "coat hanger hidden camera." Some models were as cheap as $15.
There was no surveillance at the park, so ENCON police said they were looking at the camera itself to see if it caught an image of the suspect. They were also cross-checking the list of campers and registered guests from this weekend with law enforcement agencies that have had similar incidents.
"I hope they catch the person that did this because it's wrong," said Rivera. "We come here to have fun, enjoy ourselves and then to have this happen. That's wrong."
Anyone with information about the camera was asked to call the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's ENCON Police or state police in Westbrook.
Copyright 2014 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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