Dennis Smith, the owner of Calabash Seafood Restaurant and Club Midway, said he installed the camera after years of vandalism to the bathroom, including $1,000 in recent damage. The camera — hanging from the ceiling just above a toilet stall — is situated to capture patrons as they enter without revealing those using bathroom facilities, he said.
Smith said most of his customers seemed OK with it during the two weeks that it was active earlier this year, though some have accused him of bad intentions or illegal behavior. His stock response, he said, is “if you don’t like it, you don’t have to eat here.”
The Hanover County Sheriff’s Office used a search warrant to confiscate the surveillance equipment in September, and the camera was disabled. After reviewing footage, the sheriff’s office and Hanover Commonwealth Attorney’s Office are considering whether to charge Smith with a misdemeanor for unlawful filming.
“We can’t ignore this type of stuff,” said Lt. Chris R. Whitley of the Hanover Sheriff’s Office.
For his part, Smith seemed unconcerned about the investigation.
“Well, whoopee,” he said. “It’s a misdemeanor. Are you kidding me? That would be a joke.”
Dennis Smith will not quit, even if it means violating his customers civil rights. The many have to suffer due to the actions of the few. Because Dennis Smith will be damned if he lets one more person vandalize his bathroom. The camera’s not showing anyone taking a shit is such an insignificant detail. You still have camera’s in the bathroom Denny. I appreciate you taking toilet vandalism seriously but there’s got to be another way. Maybe hire a bathroom attendant. You’re preserving the quality of your bathroom and classing the place up at the same time. Basically any other plan but bathroom cameras. That’s a battle you lose every time.