Hamilton police say they are investigating after a video recording device was located inside the bathroom of an east-end Tim Hortons.
Const. Indy Bharaj told The Spectator that officers were called to the restaurant at 30 Queenston Rd. for reports of voyeurism around 11 a.m. on Thursday.
Bharaj said officers were told that a customer went to the women’s washroom and “observed a cellphone covered with toilet paper and propped up in a coffee cup within the stall.”
In a Facebook post sent to The Spectator, a disposable coffee cup covered in toilet paper can be seen on the floor between the toilet and the napkin disposal bin. There was a small hole in the toilet paper where the cellphone camera could be seen.
The poster said the phone was discovered by a family member while using the washroom.
Bharaj confirmed the validity of the images, but could not confirm the events detailed within the public social media post.
Officers recovered the phone, which was recording at the time, Bharaj confirmed. He said it’s unclear how long the phone had been recording and how many people it may have recorded. There is no information on a potential suspect.
Speaking to The Spectator Friday, Emily Hasler — who originally posted about the incident — said the phone was discovered by her sister-in-law just moments after she had taken her daughter to the washroom.
The woman called Hasler for assistance as she waited for police.
Hasler said her sister-in-law found the phone propped up in a Tim Hortons cup that had been cut to hold the phone and was plugged into a portable battery pack.
The sister-in-law alerted staff to the presence of the phone, and it was immediately removed from the washroom.
It’s unclear who set up the phone in the stall, but Hasler said the men’s washroom was “closed for maintenance,” so only the women’s washroom was open for customer use that day.
Although the incident impacted her sister-in-law, Hasler said the phone was discovered shortly before students from nearby schools would have been on lunch break and could have visited the restaurant.
“It’s alarming to think that a bunch of students could have been (recorded) on that phone,” she said.
Regardless, Hasler said the incident has left her sister-in-law “feeling disgusted,” and the rest of her family now wary of public restrooms.
“It was just such a huge violation,” Hasler said. “You don’t think to look for a camera in the bathroom.”
Bharaj said the incident remains under investigation. The Spectator has reached out to Tim Hortons for comment on the incident.