Updated: September 03, 2020 09:20 PM
Created: September 03, 2020 04:19 PM
An Elk River man has been charged after authorities say he hid cameras at several locations, including at a high school and in a Mall of America fitting room.
Trevor Nielson, 42, is charged with interference of privacy against a minor, according to the Hennepin County Attorney's Office.
According to the criminal complaint, a manager at Forever 21 in Mall of America called the Bloomington police on Sept. 28, 2019, to report that a man had been in a dressing room for an unusually long period of time. The manager told police that she thought the same man had done the same thing two months earlier and after he left she found a hidden camera in one of the fitting rooms.
Nielson eventually stepped out of the fitting room and was stopped and searched by police. Police found a cellphone, a roll of double-sided tape and strips of the backing from the tape.
Store employees located a camera hidden in the fitting room adjacent to the one Nielson had been sitting in for nearly an hour. The same black tape, cut to the same length as the discarded backing, was holding the camera to the wall, according to the complaint.
Nielson then admitted that he hid the camera in the fitting room and had done so other times as well. He went on to tell investigators that he had secretly recorded a large number of nude and semi-nude women, including his girlfriend's 15-year-old daughter. Before the police arrived, he was watching a video feed of the camera in the fitting room on his cellphone.
Police were able to use a search warrant to confiscate Nielson's electronic devices, which produced a large amount of information, including a number of nude and semi-nude images from fitting rooms. Many of the images were of girls likely under the age of 18.
Officers also found videos from a camera that had been attached to Nielson's shoe or lower pant leg. Nielsen would stick his foot under the barrier between changing rooms and capture videos of women in the adjacent rooms. In one video, Nielsen accidentally captured his face in a mirror.
In their findings, officers recovered secretly recorded videos of students at Elk River High School as well as videos of girls at swimming pools, parks and other areas, according to the complaint.
In a statement, Independent School District 728 said:
"This evening, ISD 728 Leadership and Elk River High School Administration were made aware of charges by the
Bloomington Police Department involving an Elk River resident being investigated for incidents at numerous Minnesota locations including Elk River High School. The ISD 728 Administration Team is working with the Elk River Police Department to learn more, and at this time, there is no further information available as it is an ongoing investigation.
As always, safety and security is our number one priority. We will continue to work with the Elk River Police Department as the investigation unfolds."
His first court date has not yet been set.
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