King County Correctional Facility (Bellevue Reporter, file)

King County Correctional Facility (Bellevue Reporter, file)

Lynnwood man accused of spying on colleagues in Expedia bathroom

Prosecutors charged Marcelo Vargas-Fernandez with four counts of voyeurism. Police found over 33 spy cameras inside his apartment.

LYNNWOOD — An Expedia worker from Lynnwood spied on at least 10 coworkers using hidden cameras he set up in the bathroom, according to charges filed in King County.

On Feb. 1, police arrested Marcelo Vargas-Fernandez, 42, outside of his Lynnwood apartment for investigation of felony voyeurism. Four days later, King County prosecutors charged Vargas-Fernandez with four counts of first-degree voyeurism.

A man identified as Marcelo Vargas-Fernandez walks in the front lobby of the Expedia facility on Jan. 11 in Seattle, Washington. (Provided by Seattle Police Department)

A man identified as Marcelo Vargas-Fernandez walks in the front lobby of the Expedia facility on Jan. 11 in Seattle, Washington. (Provided by Seattle Police Department)

Around 3 p.m. Dec. 4, an Expedia van pool driver arrived at the Seattle headquarters at 1111 Expedia Group Way W, according to a Seattle police report. He decided to use the bathroom before driving other employees home.

While in the bathroom, he noticed something under the sink, according to the police report. It appeared to be a white box with a cell phone-like device attached to it.

The man reported he saw his face reflected in a camera lens on the device and got scared, the report said. After leaving the bathroom, he reported the recording device to two colleagues. The employee also reported it to security at the facility.

The next day, the employee went back to the bathroom to look for the camera. He noticed the device was missing and assumed security took it away, detectives wrote.

Over a month later on Jan. 11, a colleague alerted the van driver that he discovered devices in two different bathrooms. The two workers collected the devices and put “out of order” signs on the door. One employee kept watch while the other alerted security, court papers said.

Vargas-Fernandez tried to enter to the bathrooms twice while the employees kept watch, police said. The van pool driver thought he seemed suspicious and reported him to security.

Seattle police retrieved the devices and reviewed security footage days later.

The footage showed Vargas-Fernandez enter two different bathrooms the morning of Jan. 11, with what appeared to be the devices in his hand. The feed from the cameras activated after Vargas-Fernandez exited the bathrooms.

Footage on the devices showed people using the bathroom, detectives wrote. In total, 10 people were on camera.

Footage from a hidden camera Marcelo Vargas-Fernandez set up in the Expedia bathroom, according to charges filed in King County. (Provided by Seattle Police Department)

Footage from a hidden camera Marcelo Vargas-Fernandez set up in the Expedia bathroom, according to charges filed in King County. (Provided by Seattle Police Department)

Police obtained Vargas-Fernandez’s Amazon order history. In October, he purchased multiple “spy” cameras to be sent to his home in Lynnwood, according to the report.

Police served a search warrant on his property. Officers found two hidden cameras inside Vargas-Fernandez’ Hyundai Elantra. After searching his apartment, police found 33 “spy” cameras, 22 SD cards and six hard drives with at least 20 terabytes of storage capability, according to court documents. Police also found packages of previously worn women’s underwear.

In a police interview, Vargas-Fernandez denied putting cameras in the office bathrooms. He reported the pieces of underwear were gifts he received in the past, according to the report.

Vargas-Fernandez had no known criminal history.

He posted $200,000 bail and was released Feb. 2.

Jonathan Tall: 425-339-3486; jonathan.tall@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @snocojon.

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