WALL TOWNSHIP, NJ -- A trainer at a New Jersey club was arrested after an iPhone was found hidden in a coed restroom at the club.
Wall Township, NJ, police arrested Brian T. Shaw of Manasquan, NJ, a former trainer at The Atlantic Club, this week and charged him with invasion of privacy and tampering with evidence, according to a police press release. Investigators determined that the iPhone belonged to Shaw, who was released on a summons pending a future municipal court appearance.
Investigators are still examining the phone, which has a camera capable of taking photographs and recording video.
Patricia Laus, owner of The Atlantic Club, says that another personal trainer found the phone in the coed bathroom at the company’s Manasquan location. The phone was mounted in the paper towel dispenser. The lock for the dispenser had been removed, and the lens for the camera portion of the phone pointed through the opening where the lock would have been. The camera was focused on the toilet in the room.
It is not yet known how long the phone was in the restroom, but from housekeeping records, Laus says she has determined it wouldn’t have been there longer than an hour.
The female personal trainer noticed that the lock was missing and looked in the paper towel dispenser, finding the phone. She took the phone to her supervisor immediately. That’s when Laus and other senior managers were called.
“It’s a call that you never want to get,” Laus says.
Police arrived quickly, and arrested Shaw, who was on the fitness center floor. The 24-year-old had been employed by the club since January and was scheduled to be married in two weeks, Laus says.
Laus wanted to be proactive and communicate clearly with members about what happened. She e-mailed a letter explaining the situation to members or mailed it to those without e-mails. She also sent separate communication to staff informing them of the situation and asked them not to speculate with members about what happened as the investigation is ongoing.
Laus also instructed that Shaw’s bio and photo be removed from the company’s website and from within the club. His employment with the company was terminated immediately, she says.
The police misreported that the phone was found at the Milagro Spa on the Manasquan campus, so Laus then sent letters to the spa clients correcting that information.
“We wanted to reassure the membership that we took the right action and did everything within our ability to assure it was a safe environment,” Laus says.
The company does a criminal check on all employees, but nothing showed up on Shaw's record, Laus says, and he had not done anything to raise any red flags prior to this incident.
Although the situation is not one any club owner wants to deal with, Laus says that club members have appreciated the way management handled the situation and have been sympathetic in the fact that it’s difficult to prevent something like this.
“The aftermath is that our members have given us great PR about how well it was handled,” she says. “Our members’ respect for us and the organization was kicked up a notch.”
Shaw is out on bail. He has been notified by the police that he is not to come on the club’s premises, Laus says, adding that the process could take months before being resolved in the court system.