A Pompano Beach man is accused of setting up hidden cameras in gym bathrooms throughout South Florida to watch men for his “personal pleasure.”
Bernando Santiago Lopez, 30, was arrested and charged with video voyeurism this month. Broward authorities say more charges are expected.
The allegations date back to Sept. 12, when a YouFit Gym location in Deerfield Beach called the Broward Sheriff’s Office about a hidden camera discovered in the men’s accessible bathroom stall.
The camera, according to BSO, was inside a drain cover under the sink and faced the toilet. A manager tipped off other locations about the finding and ordered them to search all of the men’s and women’s bathroom stalls.
In a statement to the Miami Herald, Allison Rand, YouFit’s vice president of marketing, said staff immediately removed the cameras, contacted law enforcement and are assisting in the investigations.
Rand also said Santiago Lopez will no longer be able to rejoin any of YouFit’s gyms.
“We value the privacy of our members and we are thankful for the support of the Broward County Sheriff and Boynton Beach Police Dept,” Rand said in the statement.
Several hidden cameras were found in the same position in YouFit gym locations in Boynton Beach and Davie, police say.
Early into the investigation, Boynton Beach detectives told BSO that someone under the name of “Santiago Lopez” was visiting the different gym locations where the cameras were uncovered. In late September, BSO confirmed that the same person visited locations in Deerfield Beach, Boynton Beach, Davie and Miami within a two-month period.
On Oct. 17, BSO analyzed the footage and discovered that at least 50 men were recorded without their consent. Some, police say, may be juveniles between the ages of 14 to 17.
In early November, Boynton Beach police issued an arrest warrant for Santiago Lopez. Officers with BSO detained him on the out-of-county warrant.
In an interview with investigators, Santiago Lopez admitted to setting up the cameras. He said he was curious and wanted to see men exposed “for his personal pleasure,” according to police.
Detectives located several of the men who were recorded, and they said they had no knowledge of the camera.
Santiago Lopez is being held at the Broward main jail without bond due to the Palm Beach warrant. The bond for the Broward charge is set at $25,000.