Crystal Dead says she feels hurt that employees weren’t told that a Sears maintenance worker allegedly installed hidden cameras inside fitting rooms and bathrooms. Dead is one of three workers looking to sue the North Hollywood store on suspicion of keeping the tapings a secret. John Cadiz Klemack reports from North Hollywood for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on April 19, 2012.
Sears customers reacted with fear after news broke about a maintenance man arrested in connection with secretly filming in a North Hollywood store’s fitting rooms and restrooms.
“That’s scary, actually, dangerous,” said Cody Bailey, a North Hollywood resident. “My mom shops here.”
Los Angeles police arrested 27-year-old, Alejandro Gamiz, a maintenance man who worked at the store for seven years before he was fired. He posted $20,000 bail and has his next court appearance on May 11.
Sears officials say they have re-secured all store fitting rooms and restrooms.
Police said that over the last three years, he allegedly used up to 60 cameras to spy on women in the dressing rooms.
Sears spokesman Mark Adamson, said that a one of the store’s loss prevention personnel noticed something that looked suspicious during a routine check of the premises.
“We immediately notified LAPD,” he said.
Crystal Dean, a Sears employee, said she felt hurt that nobody notified the employees.
Dean is one of three employees looking to sue Sears, saying the company knowingly allowed the video recording to happen for up to four months before telling employees and before telling police.
“We don’t know if our face has been on it, just body parts, we don’t know anything about it, all we know is he had us on film,” Dean said.
The Sears corporate office in Illinois says that’s not true.
“With all due respect to the associates who may have been impacted by this incident these claims are not true,” Sears said in a statement. "The associate accused of this crime was fired and we are fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigations.
“If we were to learn that others were involved in this incident or knew of it and failed to report it, we will take disciplinary action.”
But Michael Alder, the attorney for the Sears employees, said “If we prove that, that’s a huge problem for Sears because they allowed conduct to go on to try to help Sears protect themselves. And that’s not OK.”
Sears had employees sign an arbitration document saying they wouldn’t talk about the case or file suit, but the company insists that came before they knew about the video-taping, saying: “The adoption of the company arbitration policy is independent of this matter - it provides for at least 30 days for associates to opt out - those 30 days aren’t up yet so employees can still opt out of that.”