Palo Alto police arrested a grocery store employee who allegedly planted a hidden camera in an employee-only restroom, according to a police department press release.
On Oct. 15, at about 2:19 p.m., the police department's 24-hour dispatch center received a call from a female employee at Piazza's Fine Foods, 3922 Middlefield Road, reporting that she found a "camera pen" in the restroom.
The woman told police that she went to use the restroom while on duty at about 11:10 p.m. on Oct. 14, and while she was seated on the toilet she noticed an object that looked like a writing pen sticking out from supplies on a shelf nearby. The woman picked up the object and examined it. When she realized the object was actually a camera, she told her supervisor and they both reported the incident to Piazza's management the following day and notified police. The camera was turned over to officers and Piazza's management fully cooperated with the investigation, police said.
Officers conducted a follow-up investigation and presented the case to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office for review. On Dec. 23, officers obtained an arrest warrant for Benjamin Joseph Clerici, 39, of South San Francisco.
Clerici was the night manager for Piazza's at the time of the incident, police said. He was charged with a single misdemeanor count of using a concealed camera without consent with the intent to invade another's privacy.
Clerici voluntarily surrendered to officers on Dec. 29, and was issued a criminal citation, so there is no booking photo available, police said.
Investigators think the camera was placed in the restroom shortly before the female employee discovered it and do not believe there are any additional victims.
Anyone with information pertaining to this case is asked to call the 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.