Crime

Ex-Palm Springs hotel employee convicted for installing hidden camera

A former Palm Springs hotel employee who installed a hidden camera inside a bathroom, where it was found by a guest, was convicted today of burglary and other charges.

Oscar Patino-Aguilar, 32, hid the camera inside a bathroom light fixture in a room where two women and two 16-year-old girls were staying at the Baymont Inn & Suites at 390 S. Indian Canyon Drive.

A Murrieta jury took less than a day before returning guilty verdicts on felony counts of burglary and bringing drugs into a county jail. On Monday, prior to the trial's end, Patino-Aguilar also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of attempting to use a concealed recording device and possession of controlled substances.

He's slated to be sentenced on June 8.

According to a declaration in support of an arrest warrant, Patino-Aguilar showed the group to their room on June 13, 2016, after which the women and girls went to the pool. When one of the women returned to the hotel room to retrieve some water, she noticed a hotel worker wearing an ``Oscar'' nameplate inside the room, with the lights off and curtains drawn, and said he rushed out.

She searched through her belongings to see if anything had been taken, then noticed that the light bulb directly above the toilet was positioned at a strange angle, and upon further examination, found ``a small electronic object hugging the light bulb,'' aimed toward the toilet, according to the 
declaration.

Patino-Aguilar was later detained in the hotel lobby and initially denied any knowledge of the camera, but later admitted to a Palm Springs police officer that he placed the camera in the room, court papers stated. Upon being detained, he was found in possession of jewelry, counterfeit money and receipts 
for surveillance camera purchases in his pockets.

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