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How to detect hidden cameras in private places

Detectives are investigating after hidden cameras were found in women’s bathrooms at three locations in the Florida Keys.

The miniature cameras were found inside coat hooks that anyone can buy online. They’re sold as “home security devices.”

Common spots for hidden cameras are inside dressing rooms, hotel rooms, and public bathrooms.

These cameras can be mounted anywhere: on the sink, inside the vents, or inside coat hooks.

“People need to have their privacy,” said Naples resident Daniel Coleman. “I think it’s wrong.”

Convenience store shoppers were shocked when we told them miniature cameras were found inside bathroom stalls.

We stopped by four different gas stations in Collier and Lee Counties, and we didn’t find any hidden cameras in the restrooms.

But private investigator Carrie Kerskie says they’re out there.

“Nowadays, with the advances in technology, all you need to do is insert a MicroSD card. The battery life for these coat hooks, I looked it up, is two hours. Then, you just take it out, pop it in the computer, and you have all your images,” said Kerskie. “It’s real simple and easy. They just walk in, hang it up, walk out, go back a few hours later and take it off.”

But Kerskie said there are tools you can use to defend yourself like the Spy Finder. Kerskie showed us how the Spy Finder worked by showing us a clock radio that had a hidden camera inside.

When you press the button and hold the device to your eye, you can see a red beam. You hold that beam toward the device and scan. If you see a red dot, that’s where the camera is located.

“If it’s a camera, that red dot is going to stay in the same place,” said Kerskie. “The size of a camera lens can be the side of a period at the end of a sentence — that’s how small they make them these days.”

The Spy Finder costs anywhere from $50 to $80.

Kerskie says if you’re living alone or in a dorm or you own a business,  it may be worth the investment.

“I do recommend it if you’re a woman and you’re living alone or even a girl in college dorms. They have been found in those places. If you own an establishment with a dressing room or public restrooms, it’s a good idea to go in there periodically and check yourself,” said Kerskie. “That way, you’re not the one who is on the six o’clock news saying there was a camera found in your establishment.”

They say there’s an app for everything these days so we also looked into cell phone apps marketed to identify hidden cameras.

Google Play App: GSM Spy Finder

Apple App Store App: Hidden Camera Detector

There are a few on the market, and most cost about $5. Kerskie said they can produce false positives.

“They may go off RF frequency. If they see anything on that frequency signal, you can easily get a lot of false positives because there are a lot of radio frequency signals. If you’re using a cordless phone, or wireless device, even the Wi-Fi itself, they’re all on frequency, so you can get false positives on those apps.”

Categories
NBC-2 | WBBH

How to identify hidden cameras in private places

Detectives are investigating after hidden cameras were found in women’s bathrooms at three locations in the Florida Keys.

The miniature cameras were found inside coat hooks that anyone can buy online. They’re sold as “home security devices.”

– Using our app? CLICK HERE to watch video

Common spots for hidden cameras are inside dressing rooms, hotel rooms, and public bathrooms.

These cameras can be mounted anywhere: on the sink, inside the vents, or inside coat hooks.

“People need to have their privacy,” said Naples resident Daniel Coleman. “I think it’s wrong.”

Convenience store shoppers were shocked when we told them miniature cameras were found inside bathroom stalls.

We stopped by four different gas stations in Collier and Lee Counties, and we didn’t find any hidden cameras in the restrooms.

But private investigator Carrie Kerskie says they’re out there.

“Nowadays, with the advances in technology, all you need to do is insert a MicroSD card. The battery life for these coat hooks, I looked it up, is two hours. Then, you just take it out, pop it in the computer, and you have all your images,” said Kerskie. “It’s real simple and easy. They just walk in, hang it up, walk out, go back a few hours later and take it off.”

But Kerskie said there are tools you can use to defend yourself like the Spy Finder. Kerskie showed us how the Spy Finder worked by showing us a clock radio that had a hidden camera inside.

When you press the button and hold the device to your eye, you can see a red beam. You hold that beam toward the device and scan. If you see a red dot, that’s where the camera is located.

“If it’s a camera, that red dot is going to stay in the same place,” said Kerskie. “The size of a camera lens can be the side of a period at the end of a sentence — that’s how small they make them these days.”

The Spy Finder costs anywhere from $50 to $80.

Kerskie says if you’re living alone or in a dorm or you own a business,  it may be worth the investment.

“I do recommend it if you’re a woman and you’re living alone or even a girl in college dorms. They have been found in those places. If you own an establishment with a dressing room or public restrooms, it’s a good idea to go in there periodically and check yourself,” said Kerskie. “That way, you’re not the one who is on the six o’clock news saying there was a camera found in your establishment.”

They say there’s an app for everything these days so we also looked into cell phone apps marketed to identify hidden cameras.

Google Play App: GSM Spy Finder

Apple App Store App: Hidden Camera Detector

There are a few on the market, and most cost about $5. Kerskie said they can produce false positives.

“They may go off RF frequency. If they see anything on that frequency signal, you can easily get a lot of false positives because there are a lot of radio frequency signals. If you’re using a cordless phone, or wireless device, even the Wi-Fi itself, they’re all on frequency, so you can get false positives on those apps.”

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ABC-7 | WZVN

Paint dumping in canal infuriates North Naples residents

A fisherman says he caught a company on camera dumping paint into a north Naples canal. 

Pictures show the white paint spilling into the water, and the company dumping the white paint down a drain leading to the water.

It happened on Third Street West on Little Hickory Bay.

When neighbors found out, they were just as furious. They blamed it on a nearby construction site where a new house was just painted.

“There’s no need for anybody to spoil it in any way,” said dock owner David Reamer after seeing the pictures.

We showed neighbors along Third Street West, what one fisherman caught.

“When somebody pollutes it, it’s kind of offensive,” said homeowner Bonita Dorsman.

“It’s just something you can’t believe anybody would be so stupid to do,” said Reamer.

The man who took these photos says painters just coated the outside of a multi-million dollar home. Beside it, the dumpster is still filled with used paint gallons, paint brushes, and trash.

“I can imagine when they just wanted to get rid of their stuff it was just a quick fix,” said Dorsman.

The fisherman says he watched as crews took gallons of leftover paint and dumped it down a nearby drain. That drain led straight through the seawall and into Little Hickory Bay.

According to Florida Statute, paint is considered hazardous waste and must be disposed of properly.

“They are just infecting our Florida waters with different chemicals that can harm our fish and sea life,” said Carmelo, a neighbor who didn’t want to give his last name.

Dumping such material off our coastline is considered a crime.

“A crime against nature, why would anybody do that? How can you clean such an accident up like that?” asked Reamer. “Don’t come back to our neighborhood.”

We’ve reached out to the company responsible multiple times but have not heard back.

Categories
NBC-2 | WBBH

Paint dumping in canal infuriates Naples neighbors

A fisherman says he caught a company on camera dumping paint into a north Naples canal. 

Pictures show the white paint spilling into the water, and the company dumping the white paint down a drain leading to the water.

– Using our app? CLICK HERE to watch video

It happened on Third Street West on Little Hickory Bay.

When neighbors found out, they were just as furious. They blamed it on a nearby construction site where a new house was just painted.

“There’s no need for anybody to spoil it in any way,” said dock owner David Reamer after seeing the pictures.

We showed neighbors along Third Street West, what one fisherman caught.

“When somebody pollutes it, it’s kind of offensive,” said homeowner Bonita Dorsman.

“It’s just something you can’t believe anybody would be so stupid to do,” said Reamer.

The man who took these photos says painters just coated the outside of a multi-million dollar home. Beside it, the dumpster is still filled with used paint gallons, paint brushes, and trash.

“I can imagine when they just wanted to get rid of their stuff it was just a quick fix,” said Dorsman.

The fisherman says he watched as crews took gallons of leftover paint and dumped it down a nearby drain. That drain led straight through the seawall and into Little Hickory Bay.

According to Florida Statute, paint is considered hazardous waste and must be disposed of properly.

“They are just infecting our Florida waters with different chemicals that can harm our fish and sea life,” said Carmelo, a neighbor who didn’t want to give his last name.

Dumping such material off our coastline is considered a crime.

“A crime against nature, why would anybody do that? How can you clean such an accident up like that?” asked Reamer. “Don’t come back to our neighborhood.”

We’ve reached out to the company responsible multiple times but have not heard back.

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ABC-7 | WZVN

Tempers flare between stepparents of missing Fort Myers girl

Family members of a missing Lee County girl hit their breaking point.

It has been more than 72 hours since Diana Alvarez was last seen by family in her San Carlos Park home.

The 9-year-old girl was reported missing Sunday morning.

Accusations flew as stepparents of the missing girl came face to face in front of the home. Both sides just want to know what happened to their little girl.

“No, I don’t have any news. Nothing, so I’m still waiting,” said stepfather Uribe Jimenez.

He and the girl’s mom, Rita Hernandez, were allowed back into their home Tuesday afternoon for the first time since Diana disappeared. Their home was surrounded with crime tape while the inside was still a mess after the work of law enforcement.

“It’s terrible there right now,” said stepmother Nancy Vizcarra.

For the first time, Vizcarra came to Fort Myers from Okeechobee.

Vizcarra has a daughter that is Diana’s half sister. She has doubts about the story being told about Diana’s disappearance.

“It hurts me because what am I gonna tell my daughter when she grows up?” Vizcarra said. “Somebody has to know something because that little girl didn’t walk out by herself at 2 o’clock in the morning.”

A confrontation erupted between her and Diana’s stepfather.

The stepfather rushed the fence toward the stepmother before she pushed him. Both sides were accusing the other of knowing more about Diana’s disappearance than they’re saying. The mother got involved, but the confrontation was broken up by Lee County deputies.

No one was arrested or taken to the hospital, but an ambulance was called to check on Diana’s mom, who is almost nine months pregnant. Jimenez said Rita was OK.

Deputies have interviewed several family members for any clues to where Diana may be. Her stepmom said officers traveled to Okeechobee on Tuesday to speak with her.

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NBC-2 | WBBH

Accusations fly among family of missing Fort Myers girl

Family members of a missing Lee County girl hit their breaking point.

It has been more than 72 hours since Diana Alvarez was last seen by family in her San Carlos Park home.

The 9-year-old girl was reported missing Sunday morning.

Accusations flew as stepparents of the missing girl came face to face in front of the home. Both sides just want to know what happened to their little girl.

“No, I don’t have any news. Nothing, so I’m still waiting,” said stepfather Uribe Jimenez.

He and the girl’s mom, Rita Hernandez, were allowed back into their home Tuesday afternoon for the first time since Diana disappeared. Their home was surrounded with crime tape while the inside was still a mess after the work of law enforcement.

“It’s terrible there right now,” said stepmother Nancy Vizcarra.

For the first time, Vizcarra came to Fort Myers from Okeechobee.

Vizcarra has a daughter that is Diana’s half sister. She has doubts about the story being told about Diana’s disappearance.

“It hurts me because what am I gonna tell my daughter when she grows up?” Vizcarra said. “Somebody has to know something because that little girl didn’t walk out by herself at 2 o’clock in the morning.”

A confrontation erupted between her and Diana’s stepfather.

The stepfather rushed the fence toward the stepmother before she pushed him. Both sides were accusing the other of knowing more about Diana’s disappearance than they’re saying. The mother got involved, but the confrontation was broken up by Lee County deputies.

No one was arrested or taken to the hospital, but an ambulance was called to check on Diana’s mom, who is almost nine months pregnant. Jimenez said Rita was OK.

Deputies have interviewed several family members for any clues to where Diana may be. Her stepmom said officers traveled to Okeechobee on Tuesday to speak with her.

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NBC-2 | WBBH

Commentary: Did the Thunder really choke?

The Golden State Warriors got all they could handle from Oklahoma City in the Western Conference Finals.

If they win the title, Golden State will be considered one of the best teams in NBA history.

– Using our app? CLICK HERE to watch video

So why are people saying the Thunder choked?

They didn’t choke; they lost to a better team.

This is a problem in sports — we’re so quick to assign blame when, oftentimes, we should be giving credit instead.

I suppose it’s part of our internet culture — we must rush to judgement, posting our hot take before anyone else does.

It’s like the Cincinnati Zoo situation — blame the mom, blame the zoo, blame the kid, blame the gorilla.

It’s just not that simple

Life isn’t always black and white, and the Thunder didn’t choke.

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Beware: IRS scams are back

Scammers are pretending to be with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and threatening arrests if victims don’t pay up.

Once again, Southwest Florida residents and snowbirds are being heavily targeted in this widespread scheme as calls to the office fraud line nearly doubled this past week.

The sheriff’s office number pops up on caller ID, but it’s a scammer at the other end of the line.

The caller claims to be with the IRS and threatens arrest if the victim doesn’t pay.

The fraud line has received almost 200 calls from concerned residents reporting suspicious phone calls from someone claiming to be from the IRS. 

LCSO encourages you to familiarize yourself with the deceitful tactics used in this scam, and to keep in mind that the IRS will NEVER:

1. Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
2. Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
3. Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card or wire transfer.
4. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
5. Threaten to bring local police or other law enforcement agencies to have you arrested for not paying.

If you think you’re the target of an IRS impersonation scam, and you owe federal taxes, or think you might owe taxes, hang up and call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you with your payment questions.

If you don’t owe taxes, call and report the incident to TIGTA at 800-366-4484.

You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTC.gov. Add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments in your complaint.

Call the Sheriff’s Office fraud line at 239-258-3292.

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Could Lehigh Acres become its own city?

There is a new push for Lehigh Acres to become its own city.

We spoke with the top two leaders of this grassroots campaign for Lehigh Acres to do what Estero did recently — become their own small city.

The two men told us that they have studied the way Estero and others have done it and now they want the same for Lehigh Acres.

Lehigh Acres Incorporation is a group of 15 citizens who meet several times a month to strategize how they can push Lehigh into the next decade with its own government and services.

This effort has failed three times before. 

The men told us that they first have to educate the public of what’s possible to gain their support.

“Some said, ‘You know what, we didn’t get a clear idea of what happens.’ They did not have the education to why we need it,” said Alain Capucci, the president of Lehigh Acres Incorporation.

“We need businesses. We need jobs. We need education. All this is getting to the point where the people are asking for it.”

Lehigh resident Neal Gross questions why it’s necessary.

“I would like to know what their motivation is. Underlying motivation. Why they really want it.”

“A lot of people are afraid of it. Don’t know anything about it. That’s why we are trying to do town halls. Trying to do meet and greets. Grassroots just to show what the capabilities are to be an incorporated city,” said Richard Farsi, the vice president of the organization.

Both men say it’s the right time because of how big this area of the county has gotten.

“We are getting bigger and bigger. This town demographically, population is growing tremendously. You need something to control it,” said Capucci.

The group is in the process of updating the 2008 feasibility study, which is required by law. If the numbers show it can be done, they will push for a mid-term referendum in 2018.

By 2018, they’d like the big wooden nickel to say, “Welcome to the City of Lehigh Acres.”

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Pet python loose in NW Cape

The search is on for a 5-foot-6-inch ball python on the loose in Cape Coral.

A woman says her pet, Debo, escaped from her lanai Saturday.

It happened in the northwest Cape area off Kismet Parkway and Santa Barbara Boulevard.

On the outside, the ball python can look menacing.

“They’re typically a dark brown or a black and light grey in between,” said snake handler Brian Holman.

They’re the color of the dangerous pythons, but this breed is far from aggressive. 

“They’re great starter snakes for kids,” Holman said. 

It’s called a ball python because it curls up in a ball when it’s scared. It’s the least aggressive breed. 

Florida Fish and Wildlife says you don’t need a permit to own one, which is why they didn’t flinch when they heard this kind of animal escaped.

They only say that it does prey on small rodents.

The owner, Gina Henry, didn’t want to come on camera but tells us she’s been searching the brush and trees in her backyard for her pet.

Although some neighbors less than thrilled, some have no fear.

“It doesn’t belong here,” said neighbor Donald Hurtle.

“I’m a snake lover, so if I came across a python, I would probably pick it up,” said John Mahoney. 

“Bring it on. A little guy like that, I’m not that afraid of him,” said Bob Tilde. 

Coming in at nearly six feet long, if you come across this snake, your best bet is to call animal control.