An electronics technician accused of planting a spy camera in an Indian River Shores mansion was arrested after police say he retrieved the camera from the bathroom being used by two teenage girls at what’s known as the Wackenhut Estate in Bermuda Bay.
Lennon Starkweather, a 37- year-old county resident, is out on $50,000 bond after being arrested May 27 on two misdemeanor charges of video voyeurism. Public records show that Starkweather runs two businesses, Total Home Management and Electronics by Design, both specializing in integrated, high-tech audiovisual, security and lighting systems.
One of his customers lives in the eight-bedroom, 22,000-square-foot oceanfront home on five acres built in the 1990s by the late George Wackenhut, founder of the Wackenhut Corporation. According to the police report, owner John Gorman had invited members of his extended family to the $18.6 million home, including his teenage granddaughter.
The granddaughter was joined by a friend and the two girls shared a suite in the home with an open bathroom and shower.
Plugged into an electrical outlet in that bathroom was a black, cube-style cellphone charger box, the type with a standard USB port – a commonplace item most every teenager is glad to have within easy reach.
When the girls questioned each other about whose charger it was and concluded that neither one had brought the charger with them, they examined it and discovered an eagle’s head insignia on the side.
They ran a Google search for a charger with an eagle’s head and found the same item for sale online, listed as a charger with a hidden camera. Gorman’s granddaughter showed the charger to her parents and, after reviewing who had access to the home, the family suspected it had been placed there by the electronics technician, Starkweather.
The camera was not of the remote type; it had a hidden micro data card where camera images were stored. So, if someone wanted to view the images, they would have to come back and retrieve the data card from the charger.
Indian River Shores police detectives removed and viewed the data card embedded in the charger and found that it had captured private footage of the girls. Detectives put the charger back in its place, installed their own surveillance equipment, then had the whole family leave the home at around 8 a.m. for the day.
“At approximately 9:05 a.m. our video surveillance equipment captured an individual enter the target room, proceed directly to the bathroom and remove the black spy camera from the wall outlet,” the police report says. “Said individual immediately exited the room, as we took chase.”
Detectives found and stopped Starkweather, located the spy camera in Starkweather’s bag, and arrested him.
Since Starkweather’s residence was on the mainland, Indian River Shores worked with the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office to further the investigation at Starkweather’s home at the Lakes at Sandridge community.
Shores Public Safety Chief Rich Rosell told Vero Beach 32963 on May 28:
“Detective Sergeant Smith and Officer Rodney Grass, with the assistance of the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office, executed search warrant this evening on the suspect’s home and uncovered eight computers and other documents of evidential value. Additionally, yesterday immediately after the arrest they seized three computers from the scene of the crime.”
As a condition of his bail, Starkweather was ordered to have “no contact with the entire Bermuda Bay community” plus the two victims. As of press time Monday, no defense attorney was listed on the docket to represent Starkweather in the case or at his July 2 scheduled arraignment.