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Sunday, Feb 19, 2017
Local News

Women find hidden cameras in their Westchase apartment

Hillsborough County deputies are investigating a complaint from two young women who found hidden surveillance cameras in their northwest Hillsborough County apartment. The victims, 23-year-old Ralitsa Dzhambazova and 22-year-old Vanya Samkovareva are students who moved to Westchase from Bulgaria for the summer to work on their English. They told deputies that a former roommate alerted them to the cameras. The cameras resembled smoke detectors or alarm motion detectors and were in a bathroom, as well as the living room and bedrooms, the women said. After finding the cameras the women taped paper over the lenses and contacted deputies. "We are not in the porno industry or something like this," Dzhambazova said. "I want the police in the United States to do something for a person like this – to protect us. This is terrible."
The women said they moved in late May to the subleased apartment at the Tuscany Bay apartment complex off Countryway Boulevard, but weren't aware of any cameras until this week. Dzhambazova and Samokovareva are upset their naked images may have been captured without their knowledge. "The bathroom is your room, it's a private space …," Samokovareva said. The women said they initially used an agency in Bulgaria to find housing and get jobs at a restaurant, but instead found work as models. After losing those jobs, they found work at the Wing House on Hillsborough Avenue. Sheriff's spokesman Larry McKinnon said detectives will work to determine whether the camera equipment is operational. Deputies also will try to track the owner through the manufacturer's model and serial numbers. "Right now," McKinnon said, "there is no suspect." The person who set up the cameras could be charged with misdemeanor video voyeurism. If the videos recorded sound, the person could face a felony charge.

News Channel 8 reporter Peter Bernard contributed to this report.