Police continue to delve into camera hidden in Rochester bathroom
ROCHESTER — After scouring a bathroom and seizing electronic equipment from a news office, police continue to look into who installed a camera-like device at Merchants’ Plaza.
On Oct. 7, a woman reported that she noticed the “eraser-sized” device in a ceiling of the second-floor bathroom of the office building at 1 Old Dover Road, which houses a bureau for Foster’s Daily Democrat and The Rochester Times along with several other businesses.
Capt. Paul Toussaint said police obtained a warrant Oct. 10 to search the desk of Rochester Times reporter Conor Makem, 45, of Dover, and seized “electronic equipment,” including Makem’s cellphone, a camera, flash drives and some computers from the newspaper office.
Makem reportedly told police that he threw the device into a Dumpster.
It remains unclear whether the device was a camera, police said. Police did not find the device in the Dumpster.
“We’ve certainly processed the scene,” Toussaint said, adding police examined the ceiling tiles, the bathroom and continue to process the seized equipment.
While Toussaint would not comment on the status of the search, he said police have not found anything that indicates Makem was involved before the device was found.
“No one has been charged,” Toussaint said, adding as a part of police procedure, evidence can be returned, depending on the nature of the case.
“We don’t want to hold onto evidence with no value,” Toussaint said, adding police have not determined whether the equipment seized in this case has value or not.
If it’s determined “there’s no evidentiary value, we would petition the judge to return it,” Toussaint said.
Makem, who has worked for The Rochester Times for the past decade, has been suspended by Foster’s, which owns the weekly newspaper.
Toussaint said there have been other incidents of cameras being used to record people without their knowledge, but it’s been several years since the last case.
“We’ve had a couple. It hasn’t been anything like this,” Toussaint said, adding it usually involved landlord-tenant disputes.
Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact Rochester Police by calling 335-7127, by leaving an anonymous tip on the Rochester Crimeline at 335-6500 or texting the Rochester Crimeline at Crimes (274637) in the body of the text, simply write TEXT4CASH followed by your tip.