Police probe cameras found in apartment

Woman says she felt watched in rented apartment

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — A young woman says she felt like she was being secretly watched when she discovered cameras in her bedroom, kitchen and living room, along with monitors and audio recording devices in the attic of the apartment she was renting in St. John’s, N.L.

Rachel Tribble said she found four cameras in the unit on Freshwater Road in mid-February after determining that wall-mounted devices she thought were part of a security system were actually video cameras.

The 21-year-old philosophy student at Memorial University said she notified the property managers about the devices that looked like motion detectors, and they suggested she check the attic of the bungalow she was sharing with a friend.

Tribble said her boyfriend went into the attic, where he found a table with two monitors, speakers, an ethernet cable and wires labelled for specific rooms in the house. She said he called down to her, saying he was looking at a monitor showing her in the living room.

They searched the apartment and discovered cameras in the living room, bedrooms and kitchen, along with another one in the attic.

“At first, I was a little embarrassed at the thought of people watching me day to day,” she said in an interview Thursday. “Then I started to get angry and frustrated and I was shocked that this was happening.”

Tribble reported the incident to police, who confirmed Thursday they are investigating. Const. Geoff Higdon of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary said he couldn’t comment further on the matter, but he said police had seized cameras and equipment.

The company managing the unit said it was aware there was a closed-circuit security system that was no longer active and could not be accessed from outside the home. Metro Property Management said in an emailed statement that it was not aware of any streaming video or recordings.

“The security system was used by the home owner for personal security while living in the home,” the statement reads. ”The home owner is adamant that there is no external access outside of the home.”

Tribble moved out of the apartment and appeared at a hearing Thursday in a bid to recover rent she had paid since Nov. 1, 2016, when she moved in. She said the $1,050 monthly rent is not her main motivation in seeking the rebate.

“I just wanted more people to be aware of their rights in general,” she said.

The provincial government later issued a statement saying Tribble is also seeking reimbursement for moving costs, compensation for a portion of the electricity bill over the duration of her tenancy and a refund of her security deposit.

A spokesman for Service Newfoundland and Labrador issued a statement saying an adjudicator will file a decision by the end of the month.

The Canadian Press

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