DES MOINES, Iowa -- An employee at a Des Moines business is facing several charges after investigators say he placed hidden cameras in bathrooms at work.
Twenty-two-year-old Brent Warren is charged with 11 counts of invasion of privacy, which are aggravated misdemeanors. He was booked into the Polk County Jail Monday afternoon and released on bond a few hours later.
Lt. Heath Osberg with the Polk County Sheriff's Office says Warren's arrest is the result of an investigation that began May 1st when deputies were called to EFCO Corporation at 1800 NE 46th Ave. in Des Moines after a suspicious device was found. Deputies determined it was a hidden camera and a search turned up a second hidden camera. Both devices were found in women's bathrooms on the premises.
Osberg says investigators determined Warren had placed the devices.
EFCO released the following statement concerning the case:
We were shocked and disappointed to learn about an invasion of privacy involving several of our employees. Once EFCO was alerted to the issue, we immediately launched an internal investigation, which resulted in the termination of the employee responsible. In addition, we have contacted the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, and they have opened an investigation. We stand together with our employees and remain committed to their safety and the security. We will continue to cooperate fully with the Sheriff’s investigation.
The company also provided the text of an e-mail sent to employees last week about the situation:
Sent: Friday, May 3, 2019 3:41 PM
Subject: Confidential Employee Communication to EFCO Center Employees
Dear EFCO Colleagues –
We want to share some information with you regarding a very disturbing situation that occurred at our corporate office. Please treat this information as confidential out of respect for those involved and to protect the integrity of the investigation.
Late Wednesday, we learned about an invasion of privacy affecting several female employees. The situation involved an individual employee attempting to secretly video-record the others without their consent. Small recording devices that look like a cellphone charger were found in restrooms. Each person involved in this situation has been notified directly.
Upon receiving this information, Human Resources launched a prompt and thorough internal investigation which uncovered the individual responsible. All recording devices were removed and this employee was immediately terminated as a result of the investigation.
In addition, we reported this information to the Polk County Sherriff’s office. They are currently in the process of completing their own criminal investigation. EFCO will fully cooperate with law enforcement on this matter.
The safety and security of all of our employees is the most important priority for our organization. The actions of the individual who violated our colleagues’ privacy are in direct violation of our policies and our most important core values. We were surprised and shocked to learn about an invasion of privacy involving our employees. We would never have let this unacceptable and reprehensible conduct go on, if we had any sign of this activity. When one of us is hurt, we all hurt. We stand together and will continue working and guarding against this type of disturbing behavior moving ahead.
We wanted to share this information with you so that you have all of the facts available. If you have information that is related or relevant, we encourage you to come forward. We ask that you refrain from speculation, and treat this information as confidential, out of respect for those involved and to protect the integrity of the investigation.
If you have any questions, or additional information that would be important for us to know, please feel free to contact Human Resources or the EFCO anonymous ethics reporting website and toll-free hotline. We will share additional information as appropriate.
Thank you for the important work you do here. We appreciate your consideration and sensitivity.