The man accused of hiding a camera inside a restroom at Chili's in Arroyo Grande will face one misdemeanor charge.
The District Attorney's office decided Friday to charge Israel Mojica, 32, of Grover Beach with a misdemeanor charge of using a concealed video camera to record a person in a public restroom.
He faces up to one year in County Jail.
A spokesperson for Chili’s Grill & Bar confirmed Friday that an employee of its Arroyo Grande restaurant was fired after police said a woman using the restroom noticed a cell phone inside the stall, with its lens pointed in the direction of the toilet.
A 41-year-old woman from Porterville had noticed the cell phone in the waste basket inside the restroom stall on July 3 at 10:45 p.m., according to police Cmdr. John Hough. The restaurant is located at 900 Rancho Parkway.
She then contacted the restaurant manager, who found the cell phone in a bucket full of paper and cleaning supplies. The manager told officers that a Chili’s employee had been inside the women's restroom immediately before the woman entered it.
An officer took the phone. Police officers also took a computer from the employee’s home. The employee, a 32-year-old Grover Beach resident, was not identified. Police have not made any arrests.
A statement from Chili’s said that “an internal investigation commenced immediately, and a Chili’s employee was terminated as a result.”
Arroyo Grande police are continuing to investigate and will conduct further analysis of any retained images on the cell phone and computer.
Hough said that there has been no confirmed evidence that any images were captured or transmitted from either the seized cell phone or the seized computer.
The case has been submitted to the county District Attorney’s office for review of any appropriate arrest charges, Hough said in a news release.
-- Cynthia Lambert