A likely practical joke turned out to be no laughing matter for three female freshmen living in the Hall on Virginia Avenue.
An anonymous tip about a hidden spy camera located in a fourth floor HOVA room led to a search by University Police investigators that didn’t turn up any digital Peeping Toms.
Community Director Jeff Dahlander warned the women on March 21 that he had received a tip about a camera watching them inside their room. The girls were immediately concerned that someone might be taking advantage of them.
“The first thing we thought was someone was getting a free show,” freshman Raquel Maya said. “We were kind of freaked out. We run around in our underwear often.”
While they suspected a joke, the roommates’ anxiety was not eased when two UPD searches failed to turn up a camera, and no one admitted to starting the joke. Hidden cameras can be as small as a dime, according to one Web site selling such devices.
“UPD has limited technical means to find hidden covert devices,” department chief Dolores Stafford said. The typical UPD response to the possible presence of spy cameras includes interviews and a resident-permitted search.
“It is most likely a joke,” Maya said. “I can see the entertainment other people would get, but it’s not funny when you’re the other side of the joke.”