Collins store owners comment on dressing room camera

Tom and Tammy White
Tom and Tammy White

By Jeff Daley – email

COLLINS, MS (WDAM) - The owners of a discount store in Collins where a video camera was found in one of its dressing rooms over the weekend spoke out Monday.

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.

Katherine Mattle and her aunt had been trying on clothes at the store Saturday afternoon.  Mattle claimed she had already tried on several garments before her aunt discovered the camera. Mattle pointed out the camera to a store employee who then had Tom White summoned to the dressing room area where he was told about the camera.

"At that time I went and got a ladder and climbed up to look and see and I did find a camera. I got it and brought and put it on the counter," said White.

The camera was found in a corner of the ceiling. It had been apparently put there from an adjoining rest room that had no ceiling. A small hole was cut to allow access for the camera.

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 was also upset with what she called the "lack of professionalism" by the Collins Police Department saying they were downplaying the incident. Both the Whites and Collins Police Chief Bob McKee dispute this claim.

"The officers job is to respond to the call, get the basic information, and then turn it over to the investigators. And that's what they did," said McKee.

McKee says he believes they will be able to find the person who put the camera in the ceiling.  If an arrest is made that person could be charged with a felony.

The Whites say they love their customers and steps have been and will continue to be made to ensure they are safe and protect their privacy.

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