By Jeff Daley – email
COLLINS, MS (WDAM) - An employee of a Collins discount store has been arrested and charged with putting a camera in a dressing room.
Cody Lee Flowers, 25, of Seminary is being held in the Collins jail on $50,000 bond after a Wednesday morning initial court appearance.
Flowers, who has worked at Shirley's Discount Store for four years, is charged with photographing or filming someone without their permission where there is an expectation of privacy.
Collins Chief of Police Bob McKee says during questioning Flowers confessed to putting the camera in the dressing room. He told investigators he had using the camera for about two weeks..
Shirley's owner Tammy White declined comment on the arrest based on advice from her attorney Jimmy Dukes of Hattiesburg. Dukes spoke with White and law enforcement Wednesday afternoon and will release the results of those conversations Thursday morning.
Katherine Mattle of Richardson, Texas, was shopping with her aunt at Shirley's Discount Store on Highway 49 in Collins Saturday afternoon when she claims to have discovered a hidden camera.
She was about to enter a dressing room when her aunt stopped her, telling her there was a camera in the ceiling tile above the room.
"I looked up and indeed there was a camera in the ceiling", said Mattle. "I had already tried on skirts and dresses and what not and had literally got down to my basic underwear".
Mattle says she reported the camera to a store employee who she says at first was rude about it but then got a ladder and removed the tile. That's when she said a Baby First video camera was found attached to the tile.
"That's when we found out the camera was actually working. It was live,"added Mattle. "Somebody was watching us getting dressed and undressed remotely".
The police were called and and two officers from the Collins Police Department responded to the scene. Mattle says the two officers were mostly unresponsive to her complaint.
"The police were very rude and obstinate and said what do you expect us to do," according to Mattle.
Mattle says the two officers took the camera with them when they departed, but she says they told her they couldn't guarantee anything would be done about the incident.
"Basically I got a business card, they took down my name, and I was shooed off like it was unimportant," said Mattle.
A Collins Police official said the department is investigating the complaint. He also said the store's owners called police when the camera was discovered, and it is unclear at this time who put it there.
Tammy and Tom White, owners of Shirley's Discount Store on Highway 49 in Collins were stunned to learn a customer had spotted a hidden video camera in the ceiling of one of their dressing rooms. Both are adamant they have no idea how the camera ended up in the ceiling.
"We feel like someone could have planted it there just to get revenge," said Tammy White.
Tammy White says some employees had been aware of the hole for a period of time, but thought nothing of it.
Mattle said she noticed the camera appeared to be operational as she saw a red light flashing on the camera. The Whites contend the camera was not on when it was brought down from the ceiling.
Mattle says she is considering legal action over the incident.