"Smile! You're On Restroom Camera..."

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    Dec 11, 2013 5:58 PM GMT
    http://www.timesdispatch.com/news/local/hanover/owner-defends-bathroom-camera-at-hanover-restaurant/article_f2b1720e-c824-5286-b1a2-b69bccc4df86.html

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    (Richmond Times-Dispatch) After paying $1000 to replace a urinal that was torn from the wall in his Mechanicsville restaurant, Calabash owner Dennis Smith installed a stationary camera in a visible spot that he believes will protect his property from future vandalism.

    Richmond (Va.) Times-DispatchDennis Smith, the owner of Calabash Seafood Restaurant and Club Midway, said he installed the camera after years of vandalism to the bathroom, including $1,000 in recent damage. The camera — hanging from the ceiling just above a toilet stall — is situated to capture patrons as they enter without revealing those using bathroom facilities, he said.

    Smith said most of his customers seemed OK with it during the two weeks that it was active earlier this year, though some have accused him of bad intentions or illegal behavior. His stock response, he said, is “if you don’t like it, you don’t have to eat here.”

    The Hanover County Sheriff’s Office used a search warrant to confiscate the surveillance equipment in September, and the camera was disabled. After reviewing footage, the sheriff’s office and Hanover Commonwealth Attorney’s Office are considering whether to charge Smith with a misdemeanor for unlawful filming.

    “We can’t ignore this type of stuff,” said Lt. Chris R. Whitley of the Hanover Sheriff's Office.

    For his part, Smith seemed unconcerned about the investigation.

    “Well, whoopee,” he said. “It’s a misdemeanor. Are you kidding me? That would be a joke.”

    “I’ve been doing this for 34 years. I’m not concerned with the public’s opinion of how to run my business,” said the 55-year-old owner. “I know how to run it better than anybody. I don’t need them, the county, the government or anybody else telling me how to do it.”

    A search warrant says that “the toilet and urinal are not viewable by the camera; however, other portions of the restroom are in view of the camera that would have an expectation of privacy.”


    Can I ask this question... how can you NOT hear a urinal being ripped from a bathroom wall?

    If it was up to me, I would just have a bunch of men come in at random times, eat up a storm, use the restroom, and then storm out of there clutching pearls and refusing to pay. Since the owner insists no one should feel forced to eat there...
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    Dec 11, 2013 8:42 PM GMT
    dayumm said
    Can I ask this question... how can you NOT hear a urinal being ripped from a bathroom wall?


    Music, chatter, general noise. I've seen bathrooms vandalized in junior ranks' clubs and 'no one has seen or heard anything'.
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    Dec 11, 2013 9:08 PM GMT
    Aristoshark said
    Ex_Mil8 said
    dayumm said
    Can I ask this question... how can you NOT hear a urinal being ripped from a bathroom wall?


    Music, chatter, general noise. I've seen bathrooms vandalized in junior ranks' clubs and 'no one has seen or heard anything'.

    And here I thought the British are all well-behaved. Oh, except for at footy.


    No, most of the football hooligans (or at least the ringleaders) were put away following undercover police ops in the early 1990s and it is no longer anything like the problem it once was.

    Most vandalism in the UK (including in the armed forces) is alcohol related, but the trend for this type of crime is downward generally, owing to tougher alcohol licensing enforcement and no-nonsense public order policing.